The book publishing industry has its share of challenges. Other than huge blockbuster hits like Scholastic's
For those of us who care about books and publishing, it's frustrating to think that the old line "there's no such thing as bad publicity" rings so true. One might imagine that being publicly exposed would result in something along the lines of "you'll never work in this town again," but obviously that's not the case. I guess the public has spoken, too -- Nielsen BookScan data shows that A Million Little Pieces still sells 1,000 copies a week, even at this late date (it was originally published in 2003).
Maybe it's not that different than other tasteless concepts for a book, like O.J. Simpson's If I Did It, which is hitting the shelves this week. Barnes & Noble
As a writer and a voracious reader myself, I find episodes like this more than a little bit demoralizing. Is merit anywhere near as important as celebrity? Doesn't it matter how and why authors became so well known (or notorious, as the case may be)? Yet, as an avid defender of the marketplace, I can't deny that as long as people want to spend their money on such books, publishers will respond. It appears the going idea is that we consumers just can't resist (and these books' placement on best-seller lists will be testament to that). We can pick on our media for sometimes seeming to cater to sensationalistic content, but it's not like we're not buying it.
Compared to the ramifications of If I Did It, Bright Shiny Morning is probably a walk in the park. Of course, given what transpired with A Million Little Pieces (basically, the mighty Oprah Winfrey had a PR situation on her hands when it came to light the memoir she had heaped praise upon had been embellished) I'd be willing to bet Oprah won't highlight Frey's new literary offering in her highly influential book club. Then again, the word is already out on Frey, and although the previous word wasn't too good, that doesn't mean nobody's buying.