Fuse #8

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Striking a Blow For Independent Bookstores

When an author tries to get out of the soul-damning machinations of publicity, they're often looked upon as batty or deranged. Remember when Jonathan Franzen didn't want The Corrections to be an Oprah book of the month? People just couldn't wrap their heads around that one. Less publicized is the case of British children's author George Walker. When his book Tales From an Airfield started doing well in bookstores, Amazon.co.uk picked it up against his wishes.
"What they are actually doing is getting the independents to do their market research," said Mr Walker, a passionate advocate of independents. "When a book gets a certain amount of attention, they will attempt to stock it and cut the independents out. Not with my book!"
Wow. That is one amazing guy. He's so dedicated to independent bookstores that he'll tell the biggest book retailer out there where they can shove their "help". He even promotes a British independent bookstore website. I think I'm in love. If any American publishers would care to pick up his book I'd be happy to buy the first 100,000 copies or so just to help get it off the ground.

Thanks to Galleycat for the link.


At 4:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now THAT is principled. I try to buy everything at my local independent bookstore. But boy does Amazon make it hard. I have free 2-day shipping, and the books are nearly 2/3 the price on Amazon. For Christmas, my bookstore had run out of almost all of your well-reviewed MG books, Betsy. If I had special-ordered them, they would have been late. It's hard to be a good person.

At the very least, if you browse, and see, and touch a book in a bookstore, you shouldn't go home and order it on Amazon.

At 6:56 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, no, no. Franzer was perfectly willing (or they wouldn't have done it)to have it be an Oprah book, with all the sales that entails. But then he grizzled to everyone who commiserated about how awwwwful it was (while taking the dough.) And Oprah finally told him and all other contemporary authors to stuff it, bless her.

Little whiner.

At 3:25 PM , Blogger Julie said...

I was looking for info on the ol’ Franzen/Oprah dustup, so I turned to the always-reliable (cough, cough) Wikipedia where I found this description of a Simpson episode that had Franzen as a guest star:

"Moe and the Simpsons finally arrive at the Wordloaf convention while being pursued by the police of every state in New England. At the convention, Moe mingles among noted authors Tom Wolfe, Gore Vidal, Michael Chabon and Jonathan Franzen." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moe%27N%27a_Lisa
(How did I miss this one?)


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