May 18, 2024

A Book for Sale on Tax Day, but Online Now

Except that’s not really when it went on sale.

Amazon and Barnes Noble were selling the book on their Web sites on Wednesday, long before many bookstores would receive copies. Nicole Dewey, a spokeswoman for Little, Brown, part of Hachette, said the official on-sale date for the book was March 22, but the publication date — when the book is available everywhere — remained April 15. (A countdown clock on the Hachette Web site ticks away the days, hours and minutes until April 15.)

“I don’t really understand the confusion,” Ms. Dewey said. “This happens all the time. There’s nothing unusual about it.”

It was a distinction lost on many bookstores, who erupted in protest on Wednesday when they heard that Amazon was already selling the hotly anticipated book.

“Outrageous,” said Zack Zook, the general manager and events coordinator at BookCourt, an independent store in Brooklyn. “If stuff like this keeps happening, booksellers are going to start suing publishers.”

Kelly von Plonski, the owner of Subterranean Books in St. Louis, said she was “irate” after hearing on Wednesday that the book was already on sale. She had planned a midnight release party for April 14, the night before she thought the book was being released.

“I’m really, really angry about it,” she said. “Add it to the list of advantages that Amazon has been given.”

Countless stores were left flat-footed.

While Barnes Noble was selling the book on its Web site, several of its outlets in Manhattan and Brooklyn said they had not yet received copies and were not allowed to sell them until April 15.

At Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena, Calif., not far from Pomona College, where Mr. Wallace was a professor in the English department when he died, the store had ordered 55 copies but was waiting to put them on display.

Paul Yamazaki, the head buyer at City Lights bookstore in San Francisco, said he had been told “The Pale King” had a strict on-sale date of April 15.

Several distributors told booksellers this week that they would not ship them copies because it was too far away from the publication date in April.

Publishers try to get books in stores by the time media coverage begins, usually before the official publication date. Time magazine is expected to run a lengthy article about “The Pale King” in its next issue.

Mr. Wallace, whose best-known book was “Infinite Jest,” committed suicide in 2008 at the age of 46.

He has since become somewhat of a cult figure, and fan sites devoted to him were abuzz on Wednesday with news that the book had started shipping from Amazon.

Article source:

Speak Your Mind