Literature and Lifestyle According to the NYT

Now at your local Urban Outfitters

Jessica Crispin's latest Book Standard piece, which questions Borders' refusal to stock a promising YA title by Aury Wallington, is interesting.

But not nearly as interesting as Selling Literature to Go With Your Lifestyle. Non-bookstore stockage of niche titles hits the NYT's front page today. Did anyone else know that you can buy trendy hipster tomes in Urban Outfitters? Who would've thunk. If your kitchy gift book doesn't sell well in an actual bookstore, just ask your publisher to have it stocked in a place where you can also purchase an insanely overpriced pair of skinny jeans and pre-torn "Everybody Loves a Whatever Girl" tees. Hooray!

This quote is just psychotic:

"At Anthropologie on Sunday, Ruth Rennert lounged among the throw pillows on a mustard-yellow sofa -- not far from that display of yellow sweaters and books -- leafing through Jackie: A Life in Pictures, about the former first lady. Shopping for books in a setting like this, she said, is preferable to enduring the hustle and bustle of big bookstores."

Hey Ruth, ever heard of an independent bookstore? We hear they're the new Barnes & Noble, except you can't buy your Starbucks there. Darn that hustle and bustle!

Another winner that chills us to the bone. Very Chuck Palahniuk:

 “You walk into Restoration Hardware and you want the couch and the vase and the nightstand, and then you want the two books that are on the nightstand. The books complete the story.”

Not surprisingly, Publisher's Marketplace freaks out:

I Can't Believe this is a Front Page Article In the Paper of Record
The specious passing off of a long-term business development as a recent "trend." The attempt to build a causal link to "statistics" that don't mean anything anyway. The age-old pejoratives (why are publishers always "pushing their books" and "peddling"?) And what high school English wouldn't go to town with a clause like this by itself: "even chi-chi clothing boutiques where high-end literary titles are used to amplify the elegant lifestyle they are attempting to project."

And yet, there is still a graph or two with some facts: "Simon & Schuster is urging its sales representatives to punctuate their bookstore rounds with impromptu pitches at promising shops and markets they spot in their travels.... And HarperCollins plans to design books for its spring catalog in shades of 'margarita and sangria,' greens and reds that store owners have told the publisher will dominate that season's color palette. At Penguin Group, sales representatives have begun pushing into rural areas that are short on big bookstores, selling at cattle auctions, among other places."

Counterbalanced, still, by this note, which gives you the impression that anyone can call up and order new jackets: "The Time Warner Book Group routinely changes the color or design of book jackets at a store's request so the book will color-coordinate with merchandise."

Seriously, we're LOLZ about that jacket art comment as well. It's like calling the TWBG the publishing version of a junior's department store sale rack where everything magically comes in various shades of mint green, bright pink, black (think: classy, not sleazy), and powder-puff blue. What if the merchandise looks like crap? Should the books blend with that, too?

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