“Obama’s Challenge” to indie booksellers.

You should go here to read the whole article, but I wanted to get some of the author’s key points on here for folks to consider.

This week, a hefty faction on the left–primarily independent booksellers (following Barnes and Noble’s lead)–is actively boycotting a brave attempt to bring the book-publishing industry into the 21st century, and effectively trying to keep a progressive, pro-Obama (and fact-based) title called Obama’s Challenge out of the marketplace of ideas…

The Obama’s Challenge 75,000 print-run is on a crash schedule, due out September 15, from the independent, activist publishing house Chelsea Green (full disclosure, I worked as an editor/marketer for the house from 2004-2006) in an effort to help fight the smears against Obama in time for the election. The book will go from final edits to bound books in less than four weeks. With so little lead time until the book’s publication date, Chelsea Green publisher Margo Baldwin decided to try an innovative approach for building early buzz by making 2000 early copies of the book available at next week’s Democratic National Convention, as part of a deal with Amazon’s print-on-demand arm, BookSurge…

When news of the deal broke on August 15th, independent booksellers and other online retailers were enraged about the deal with BookSurge, which has Amazon providing the 2000 early copies for the Convention, and 15,000 coupons for the book to go into Convention goody bags, redeemable at Amazon. The deal also makes the book available exclusively through BookSurge’s print-on-demand (POD) service from August 25-September 15, when the formal print-run would be available in all bookstores and via other online retailers, through traditional book distribution channels.

On Monday, former indie nemesis Barnes and Noble cancelled an order for 10,000 copies of Obama’s Challenge and released a statement saying, “The initial order was based on the book being available to all booksellers simultaneously — an even playing field — which is common practice in book publishing.” Many smaller stores are following suit…

I hate to tell you, indie booksellers, but this isn’t just about business. It’s about activism and defeating the right, and getting our messages and ideas out in the most effective ways possible. It’s about not shooting ourselves in the proverbial foot, again. A few thousand POD copies of Obama’s Challenge will lead to more people walking through your doors and asking for the book before the election. Boycotting this book is a mistake, and you know it. Instead of looking backward, find ways to advance your own innovative models and POD services with publishers and the public.

And Barnes and Noble? You’re not fooling anyone with your fake holier-than-thou act…

Again, read the whole thing here.  (Thanks to Maud Newton for pointing this out.)


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