Sunday, June 29, 2008

Late to the party

The Wall Street Journal marvels at Amazon's ability to "champion" a debut novel, in this case David Wroblewski and The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. Bookdwarf quite rightly calls the Journal out, as her shop were boosters of the novel months ago, and more to the point, she makes the case that it's independents that till the soil and germinate the seed in the first place.

The weirdest bit from the Journal reads:
"But at a time when readers are increasingly buying only brand-name authors, the 566-page literary novel by Wisconsin native David Wroblewski wouldn't normally be expected to enjoy heavy demand."
Uhh...Brand name (bland name?) authors are so because of the influence of the chains and Amazon. Conversely, first novels that find air to breathe are usually the result of indie booksellers getting to the book early. In this case in particular, a rave in the NY Times a couple weeks ago probably helped a bit too.
Large format bookstores obviously have greater ability to influence a featured title through co-op advertising and so forth, but they are seldom in the business of championing talented unknowns. If that were the case, this guy would still be in advertising.
Well, for all practical purposes, he still is.

Posted by David

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