Good morning bookies! Stand by for news and comment.
The highs in Memphis this weekend will be in the mid 80’s. That’s right, about 10 degrees below normal for July. This great weather is scary.
***Ted Kennedy’s auto-biography, co-written with the co-author of Flags of Our Fathers Rom Powers, has been slated for a companion deluxe edition to accompany the trade edition. True Compass will have a 1,000 copy print run bound in leather and selling for $1k a pop. That’s one way to quickly get back 1/8th of the reported $8 million advance. The special edition will be ‘electronically signed’, which sounds to me like a euphemism for an auto-pen signature, the sort of autograph that is worthless to collectors. Michael Crichton did this with the deluxe edition of The Lost World, but his only sold for about $35.
So, forgive me for being cynical, but this sounds like one of those books that political cronies and wealthy friends will buy and stick on a shelf as an obligation, a rather back-handed way to funnel money to the publisher to thank them for funneling money Teddy’s way. And if I sounds irritated, it’s because I am. How many worthy authors are out there trying to sell exciting and important books to cash-strapped publishers who insist on pumping out mega-numbers of this sort of twaddle? Does they actually expect to sell anything approaching half of the 1.5 million initial print run from this book? Good grief, I’ll be surprised if they sell even a third of them. Meanwhile we will continue to read how the economy is killing book sales. Maybe if publisher’s paid more attention to selling good books and less to selling bloated and self-serving political monuments their bottom line might look a little better.
Of course, no matter how bad this book might turn out to be, no matter how self-serving Teddy’s cathartic ramblings are, they cannot possibly wind up being the worst book published this summer.
Not with the sequel to The Da Vinci Code coming.
*** We aren’t that far from the 2009 Southern Festival of Books, which takes place in Nashville the second weekend of October. I have held off commenting because it would be nice to put up a link to this year’s lineup of authors, which is scheduled to be published on July 1. It never is, of course, it’s usually around the 10th, so that’s why I haven’t said anything before this. But come on, people, today is the 15th and the Festival is less than three months away! If someone from out of town wants to attend, but is waiting to see the lineup first (in other words, me), do you have to wait until almost the last second to give us a heads up? If I do attend there are lots of details to get set up and you are making this very difficult.
Having said that, the Festival is a bunch of fun, there are always too many authors to possibly meet them all and the biggest danger is overspending on books. In other words, if you’re reading this blog then it’s the kind of event that would set your hair on fire.
*** I realize that we are all used to idiotic ideas coming out of Washington, but it appears that stupidity no longer knows any restraint, as some moronic Democrat think tank proposes giving every student in America that hell-spawned device known as a Kindle. That’s right, spending tax money on one of the nastiest inventions of the last hundred years, as we all wallow in a recession. This is further proof that if you want to write a novel more outrageous than reality, the bar is set very high. The good news is that it seems unlikely to happen, but for people just to consider this shows how far we have fallen as a civilization.
*** I see where George Carlin’s biography is due for release in November. Carlin was an American original and I can only imagine the stories he had to tell, which it appears he put down in Last Words.
*** I note with sadness that the founder of SFF’s seminal magazine on the industry, Locus, the innovative editor Charles N. Brown, died July 12. Behind me as I write this are boxes filled with decades worth of Locus issues, if you wanted to work in the SFF field, or keep up with it or just read some great reviews and interviews, that was/is your magazine of choice.