Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Pale King and commerce

A “retired indie bookseller” buys David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King from Amazon:

I read the New York Times article this morning about bookseller fury at Amazon being given the book before brick-and-mortar retailers, and I felt the characteristic frustration any retired indie bookseller would feel. Then mere hours later I surrendered to temptation and bought the book online.
He concludes, “as a reader and a consumer I couldn’t help myself.” I think he needs to reread Infinite Jest.

Meanwhile, in San Francisco an independent bookstore waits to sell the book:
So when word began spreading Wednesday morning that the novel was available on Amazon and the Barnes & Noble website two weeks before its “official” publication date, independent booksellers — yours truly among them — were left to wonder why the book was not yet on our shelves. (As if Amazon, with its predatory pricing scheme, needs the boost it surely got by having an in-demand book available before most retailers.)

So much for fair competition.
I’m waiting on a review copy. But I tried to buy a copy of The Pale King at a Barnes & Noble yesterday: the book wasn’t even there. The same B & N couldn’t sell me a copy of Vladimir Nabokov’s The Original of Laura just one day before the official date of publication.

The publication date for The Pale King — whatever that now means — is April 15.

comments: 2

Matt Thomas said...

Saw a whole stack of copies in Prairie Lights on Friday.

Daughter Number Three said...

I saw one at Micawber's in St. Paul today, but they weren't selling it yet.