Monday, October 30, 2006

Borders Turns Away Author's Debut Novel

I was at a LAYA (Los Angeles Young Adult Authors) event last night and had the good fortune to meet up-and-coming YA novelist Aury Wallington. Aury, who has penned scripts for SEX AND THE CITY and other shows, has a first book coming out called POP! (Razorbill) It covers issues like virginity and teen sex, and Planned Parenthood has given it kudos.

The buzz is good, the reviews are great, yet Borders is refusing to carry the book. This seems odd since Barnes and Noble will have it on their shelves, and I am sure the independents will be snapping it up. So why not Borders? We're not sure.

Here's an article from THE BOOK STANDARD which is raising a lot of questions.

We'd love to know what you think about this. And in the meantime, hang in there Aury!

7 Comments:

Blogger Brent Hartinger said...

Booksellers obviously have the right to decide what books they want to sell. But incidents like this worry me because, given the consolidation that's occurring in bookselling, fewer and fewer people are making decisions that affect more and more books and authors. It's easy to say, "Well, that book is SMUT, I'm glad they don't sell it!" (And I've read it, and it isn't smut.) But it's important to keep in mind that once booksellers start making decisions as a result of content issues and pressure by vocal minorities, it's only a matter of time until it's some book that YOU want to read that is...no longer available.

Sure, make editorial decisions. But err on the side of openness and freedom of choice, I say. This is America, after all, where we're supposed to be able to decide these things for ourselves.

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Andy P. said...

Sorry, not to be a killjoy, but I've been reading the Book Standard article and subsequent postings on news sites and blogs...and I don't see Borders saying "we don't carry this due to sensitive subject matter."

Yes, the cover art excuse is a little silly. HOWEVER. I work for a publisher and we were told once by Barnes and Noble that they wouldn't buy one of our books unless we changed the cover. We changed the cover. They bought the book. So it does happen.

This all smells of a marketing ploy to me, especially when you consider that Borders stocks racier material (GOSSIP GIRLS, DOING IT). Everything I've read suggests it's conjecture that Borders won't carry it for content.

I guess I'd like to see a list of other titles that Borders rejected. Please understand: if I thought this was a blatant case of censorship, I'd be writing letters and raising a ruckus. But nothing I've seen thus far supports that theory.

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Andrew K. said...

Andy P. is right. This is much more likely free publicity, than evil suppression. Look, the story went from Book Standard to Book Burger to Galley Cat in what, two weeks?Think about it. Would you rather be a midlist trade paperback original bought in insignificant quantites at Borders or a midlist TPO that's not in Borders but is generating major blog buzz and is mobilizing the anti-censorship community? I know which one I'd pick. If I were the author, I'd be begging Borders not to dispute this claim.

Borders doesn't blink at stuff far racier than POP.

Like Andy P. says, if I smelled suppression here, I'd be lighting my torch. It's just clever marketing.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

Everything I've read so far tells me this is a publicity stunt. There are SO many missing pieces to the puzzle. I'm with Andy P and Andrew K--I don't think Borders is trying to suppress this book. We've got Jessa Crispin doing her Church Lady routine ("What could make them want to suppress this book? Could it beeee....SEXUAL CONTENT?") but no real evidence. The evidence we have (the existence of GOSSIP GIRLS et al on their shelves) suggests Crispin's theory is wrong.

And I'd like to point that out. Crispin doesn't even do the ole J'accuse! But her article is worded very cleverly and readers who aren't paying attention can easily walk away thinking that censorship is behind all this.

I just need something a little more concrete before I go all "...and then they came for me" over this.

I work in publicity. This bears the distinct odor of someone who knows how to play the buzz game.

2:52 PM  
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