Isn’t it nice when you say something and then you find that someone, somewhere, in another part of the world also feels the same way? Most of the time we are just sitting here yakking away to each other over our Monday coffee and a ‘by two’ doughnut (‘by two’ of anything and everything being a very Bangalore concept), and most of the time we don’t even know if the topics we are getting stressed out about are even relevant. So we were very excited to read two articles in one week that shared the same view as two of our recent blog posts.
In our post on 20th July (about why we were not going to read Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman) we questioned the ethics of publishing as a sequel, a book that was basically a rejected first draft of To Kill a Mocking Bird. Some days back we read an article in The Guardian about a Michigan bookshop called Brilliant Books which has offered refunds to customers who had bought Go Set a Watchman. They listened to their customers who complained that they had bought the book based on the publishers misleading propaganda giving the impression that the book would be a great summer read. Brilliant Books have also stated their position on their website. This is also why on 5th January 2015, in our post ‘In Favour of Bookshops’ we had said that the survival of independent bookshops is essential for readers. Catch an e-retailer ever doing such a thing or even bothering to care for what the customers feel!
Then a few days later we found an interesting article by author Catherine Nichols in jezebel.com where she says that she received more responses from publishers when she sent the same book under a male pseudonym. On 27th July, in our blog post on Conditioned Reading we had talked about women choosing to write under male pseudonyms in order to sell their books. Isn’t it funny how people think the same book reads differently when they think it is written by a man?
We just want to say that we really admire Brilliant Books for standing up and doing the right thing. There are many people who think they are setting a dangerous precedent but we don’t think so. There aren’t too many books like Mockingbird which arouse similar feelings and it should be a lesson to leave alone the ones that do. And we thank Catherine Nichols for talking about how publisher’s prejudices limit the choices for readers.