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Gifted debut: The books industry is in ferment, with new ideas, business models and start-ups happening almost too fast to keep track of. A Scottish firm that opened for business this week is a case in point.

A Scottish firm that opened for business this week is a case in point. Blasted Heath, set up by Edinburgh crime writer Allan Guthrie and social media expert Kyle McRae, is an e-book publisher that launches with five titles – including Dead Money by Ray Banks, and The Man in the Seventh Row, a debut novel by Edinburgh journalist Brian Pendreigh.

The problem with e-books is, they’re not exactly an obvious Christmas gift. E-readers are, but not the things you’d actually want to read on them.

Which is why Blasted Heath have come up with something I haven’t heard of before – a boxed set of all five books in three file formats on a branded USB stick in a gift presentation pack. The whole thing is about the size of a tobacco tin and comes complete with fold-out cards describing the accompanying books. It costs £12.99, and although at the moment it is only available on mail order from their website,, there’s been interest from independent bookshops. There are all kinds of discounts on the website this weekend – today, for example, you can download Brian Pendreigh’s e-book absolutely free.

Small Wonder:it’s always nice to hear of a good book from a small press selling well despite the complete absence of an advertising budget and almost total absence of reviews. But Morning Glory, a collection of haiku and tanka by Alan Spence illustrated by Dame Elizabeth Blackadder, has sold out its 3,000 print run, doubtless helped along by the major retrospective of Dame Elizabeth’s work at the Scottish National Gallery.

Spence will be reading from the book at a special event at The Centre, the ground-floor gallery space of the Sri Chinmoy Centre, 179 Canongate, Edinburgh, from 12.30-1.30pm today. Dame Elizabeth will also attend, and both poet and artist will be happy to sign copies of their book. Admission to the event (through the arch next to the Old Children’s Bookshop, is £5).