Books Sweet Mystery of Extortion
posted by October 22 at 15:08 PMon
On Seattle Mystery Bookshop’s blog, there’s a fairly long post that touches on a more and more frequent problem with author readings:
This morning, we got a message from Dana Stabenow. Her publisher was making the offer to send her to shops who could guarantee 100 ‘pre-sold’ copies of her new hardcover by Jan. 17, 2009.
Their response was both emotional:
On one hand there is the feeling of loss. We were the shop that hosted Dana’s first signing for her first mystery. In fact, it was our founder, Bill Farley, who told her she would win the Edgar with it, and his words were prophetic — she did indeed win Best First Paperback Original. That has allowed us to feel somewhat proprietary about her, as we do all the Alaskan authors.
Publishers and publicists have no right to place such demands on shops. I can understand how the expenses of author tours are eating them alive and that they need to do something different. Fine, I’d be happy to make some suggestions.
It’s a great post about the future of bookselling and readings. I think this practice of forcing independent booksellers to guarantee sales of a book are complete bullshit. I hear that James Frey’s publisher was demanding that bookstores order ridiculous amounts (something like a couple hundred copies) of his new novel, Bright Shiny Morning, to get Frey to appear at a reading. Of course, he only pulled a couple dozen people to Town Hall when he actually did appear here. Good on the Mystery Bookshop for making this public.