Tuesday, March 04, 2008

How to disappear a book

I found out about it around eight o'clock this morning: our new inventory control manager came downstairs looking for any and all copies of Margaret B. Jones's Love and Consequences, saying the publisher had recalled them. "There's some sort of James Frey-like thing going on," she told me.

"But the author's coming for a signing on Thursday," I said stupidly.

"I dunno what to tell you. The buyers said to pull all the copies before the store opens," Erin replied.

Sure enough, I quickly learned that the much-praised memoir is nothing but a pack of lies; the author, whose tour was immediately canceled, has proffered a teary apology. *Sigh* These outrages/recalls/apologies are becoming all too common in the book world; it's hard to feel hurt and betrayed by a lying author when all I really feel is exasperation at the extra work the book world has to do. By ten o'clock today, the stock had been removed from the shelves, all the signage around the store promoting the autographing had been removed, the website had been updated with Margaret B. Jones's event nowehere in sight, and a large promotional poster was taken off display and given to a co-worker who's an avid book collector and totally digs literary scandals.

Another one of my co-workers pointed out, wouldn't it cost the publisher (in this case, Riverhead, the same folks who brought you James Frey's A Million Little Pieces -- oops!) less to hire a factchecker than to pay a huge advance, print and distribute thousands of copies, send the author on tour, and then have to recall all of the books?

You might be able to catch our webmaster on the local ABC news this evening, expounding upon le scandale du jour.

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