Friday Morning Round-Up

First, for those who missed the announcement last night, Death of a Musketeer — the first volume of Sarah D’Almeida’s Musketeers Mystery Series — is now available in digital format.  This is the first time DoaM has been available as an e-book and NRP is proud to be able to offer it.  Click here for more information.

And what would Friday be without more news from the Borders front?  In what appears to confirm my earlier predictions, Andy Graiser, of DJM Realty — DJM is handling the disposition of the 200 stores already announced as closing — had the following to say There could be at least another 70 to 75 stores to liquidate over the next 30 days. We are currently working with a number of landlords to renegotiate the leases; during the next 30 days we will save some stores and others will go into the next round of closings. Note that he said “at least” 70 – 75 stores.  That doesn’t appear to bode well for the company, in my opinion.

But what really gets me is the final comment in the interview.  Graiser says that because Borders is “being quick with their decisions”, they have won half the battle to emerging from bankruptcy.  I have to wonder then why they didn’t make these decisions long ago.  Why did it take going into bankruptcy for them to make the “right” decisions?  And who is to say that these are the right decisions?  The fact that they are being made so quickly could be indicative of simple knee-jerk reactions that have little to do with sound business decisions and more with simply trying to maintain the status quo as much as possible.

Other news on the Borders front includes the naming of the committee of unsecured creditors.  The committee includes “representatives from Penguin, HarperCollins, Random House and Perseus Books Group ,” as well as “representatives from Sony Music, GGP Limited Partnership and the Simon Property Group.”  This same article notes that some publishers have resumed shipments to Borders, albeit on a cash with order basis.  Ingrams has also resumed shipments.  What isn’t clear is just how many publishers have resumed doing business with the troubled bookseller nor how long Borders can operate under a cash-with-order basis.

Finally, there’s an interesting article up at Publishers Weekly on truth in publishing.  Most of us remember the dust-up that followed the revelation a few years ago about James Frey’s supposed memoir, A Million Little Pieces.  That’s one of a number of examples of supposed non-fiction books that have come back to bite publishers after the fact when it’s been discovered that the books are not factual and, in some cases, are nothing but fiction.

What makes this article interesting are some of the comments by the panelists.  Jonathan Burnham, from Harper, had this to say:  “Everyone has a responsibility to articulate the truth, but artists and writers have a responsibility to find truth in their own particular ways.”

Nicholas Trautwein, from The New Yorker, notes the difficulty in fact-checking a non-fiction book the way you would a non-fiction article.  Part of the problem — a very large part, if you ask my opinion — is that publishers want to get the book out as quickly as possible.  That keeps the time available for fact-checking to a minimum.  Still, Trautwein notes that a fact checker can be brought in for a week or two in order to vet the most “contentious” sections.  He goes on to say that it is “the agent’s responsibility to represent an author and work where they vouch for both entirely.”

The final comment comes from Marie Brenner.  Brenner writes for Vanity Fair and has published a number of books.  Before sending out her own work, Brenner hires a fact checker.  According to her, she looks at it as an “absolute necessity”.  Not only does it protect her, but it protects her publisher as well.  This is, in my opinion, the best approach of the three.  What do you think?

Now it’s time to get back to work.  And don’t forget to check out Death of a Musketeer.

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