09 April 2009

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Embargoes

What's scarier than brain-devouring Regency heroines? The Internets! Quirk Publishing sent a strongly worded letter to some bloggers lucky enough to get early copies of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES suggesting that they play nice or else... braaaaaaiiiins. Flavorwire's Kristen O'Toole, who got a copy, writes that the letter is "a lesson in how not to treat bloggers."

Because Quirk Publishing assures these folks that they will be watching, I should specify that I did not ask for, nor was I offered a copy of P&P&Z (as I have just decided it shall be abbreviated). And embargoes, as old-world as they seem in this case, can mean big money for publishers. Breaking them is not just a new-media thing: did Scholastic freeze Michiko Kakutani out when she famously got hold of a copy of HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS and published a full review of it before the street date?* But in this case it sounds like Quirk got a little indignant about the standards of the online buzz machine it was trying to court at the same time. I assume there was some egregious violation which prompted such a stinger, but I can't find it.

The simplest solution would have been the best: If you don't want people writing about your free books ahead of time, don't give them out ahead of time. I highly doubt Quirk would have gotten the brush-off had P&P&Z arrived on bloggers' doorsteps precisely on March 31. For longer-lead publications, send 'em out earlier. If, by chance, a blogger had walked into the store on March 25, the day the book went on sale, bought a copy and went home to write about it... well, that would be his or her right.

That said, I am still looking forward to P&P&Z. How can I not? Zombies, folks.

*Actually, I don't know the answer to this question; I just assume it wouldn't happen.

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