Friday, April 28, 2006

Long overdue

grim reaperWednesday, Michael Pietsch, the senior VP and publisher of Little, Brown told the NY Times that Viswanathan's book would not be removed from store shelves. The word was the book's content would change only in the next printing. I suppose that much time (and more) was needed for the rewrite. Besides, I'm sure all the publicity was great for sales. Why weren't the "similarities" caught prior to publishing? Kirkus Reviews in March even stated the book's content was not very original but they got the source wrong: "...often seems plucked from a teen movie..."

Late Thursday, word came down that the
Publisher Pulls ‘Opal Mehta’ from the shelves. Why wasn't this decision made earlier? Did the growing public furor force the publisher to finally act on this matter? Didn't Pietsch or others at Little, Brown think the matter serious enough? Was it Kaavya Viswanathan's charming nervous smile or almost teary eyes as she explained her internalization to the publisher and the world, or the increasing public embarrassment as the topic only grew in the book world?

The publishing industry, once held in high esteem, becomes more of a joke as the Freys, Viswanathans and overblown, under-talented, literati wannabe, celebrity books are published. Can anyone say sellout? As in news and jounalism, doesn't anyone check their sources? Or am I too rigid and moralistic? We are only human, but people- do your jobs!

Maybe we are missing the big picture here. Maybe this "Opal Mehta' chick-lit crap was really Viswanathan's precursor to her second book of the deal: "How Opal Mehta Got Missed, Kaavya Viswanathan Got Dissed, Got Smart and Got Another Publishing Deal." Will Viswanathan return to Harvard, or will her several day "break" be permanent? And how soon will Harvard Law school use this author and her book as an exercise?

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