Over the past few weeks the publishing news has been dominated by one story; it isn't often that one hops over to EW.com and finds a front-page story related to publishing that isn't about a book that's being made into a movie or TV series.
The Handbook for Mortals became the exception.
The book - which nobody had heard of - sprung to the top of the NY Times Bestseller list from nowhere. An investigation inferred that the publisher and/or author had made bulk purchases of the book from stores that report to the Bestseller list in order to secure a spot on the list.
An account of the allegations and reason for the book being pulled can be read here.
That isn't what made the front page of EW.com, however. That was reserved for the author's response.
It does sound as though someone (not the author) with a business interested in the book ordered a lot of copies of the book. Whether this was intentional or not, what it brings into question is whether all book sales are considered equal. If the author had no knowledge of this action, is she an innocent victim who shouldn't be punished for the actions of others?
It almost doesn't matter now. The book isn't famous; it's infamous. Its name is known for all the wrong reasons, its existence evidence of cheating.
One could easily hop on Google and research the story further to form their own conclusions.
What's sad is that there are a lot of great books out there that aren't getting press coverage because what matters more to mainstream media is a scandal. And as long as that's the case, there will be more desperate new authors looking for any way possible to raise their profile so that they can compete in the cutthroat world of book publishing.