It’s The Lists, Baby, It’s The Lists

October 11th, 2004 · No Comments
by Booksquare

The Literary Saloon gets appropriately snarky about the tangle of dates surrounding book releases (do not put out for customers to buy before the sun hits its peak the day of release under penalty of death and all that) and an attempt to clear up matters that will surely make things worse. Any time an industry needs an initiative to clear up the simple matter of A versus B, there will be more paperwork and confusion. Of this we can assure you.

We have to agree that the concept of embargoing a title is antiquated. How often does a line form at midnight for a new release? Yes, we know, but Harry Potter is an anomaly. Unlike movies, books don’t cycle through a release pattern (you hit the theaters, you hit video — pay-per-view falls in here somewhere — you hit pay television, then network, and so on). If a book is a runaway bestseller, that’s going to happen, embargo or no. If it’s a sustained seller, what does it matter if it hit the shelves days or hours before the official release? If bestseller lists made sense, it would be all about units moved. But there are reasons why the industry doesn’t get excited about that type of tracking.

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