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Likely Stories

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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008 2:59 pm
“An idea whose greatness will grip readers and refuse to let them go!”
Posted by: Keir Graff

You know those ecstatic, generally untrustworthy quotes on the back of books–no, not the ones from respected journals like Booklist, but the ones from authors whose connection to the praised author is usually unclear but worth Googling? Well, Blurbings LLC is about to put a price on the process, even if the value to the author is debatable (“He Blurbed, She Blurbed,” by Rachel Donadio, New York Times):

At least one writer was so affronted by the idea of blurbs for cash that he complained to the Authors Guild. But the more jaundiced might say that asking one unknown writer to endorse another unknown writer hardly helps to make one of those writers known.

And if you’re worried that blurbs may be insincere, how would you feel if you learned that the author’s title-page signature was a complete fake (“Wanted: people to sign books for lazy authors,” by Ed Pilkington, The Guardian)?

One smart publisher seems to have devised a way of easing the pain for the millionaire bestseller writer: they have posted an advert on the listing site, Craigslist, inviting a team of part-time workers to fake the signatures and get paid in cash for the privilege.

Check out the Craigslist ad here.

Update: In The Independent, John Walsh explores “the weird world of book signings“:

It’s not clear when the humble autograph – that early trace element of the cult of celebrity – went up-market to become the signed first edition; I suspect it was the early 1970s, when literary festivals were becoming popular and Edward Heath signed so many copies of his book Sailing, bookish types sneeringly wondered how much a rare unsigned copy might fetch.



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