Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pulitzer Pushes Paperback

Thanks to the Pulitzer Prize (established by nineteenth-century newspaper tycoon Joseph Pulitzer, shown here), the paperback of The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt will be published early—on April 20, in fact. As of this writing, that's only five days away.

For those of you who want to acquire a copy of the gorgeous hardcover, time is running out. It will be unobtainable before long. (Excuse me for calling my own book "gorgeous," but I had nothing to do with the design and production quality. Well done, Knopf.)

For those of you holding onto your money, waiting for the paperback, your long wait is about to end, almost exactly one year after hardcover publication.

Where should you buy? I encourage you to seek out your local independent bookseller. Reserve a copy! Why not Amazon or Barnes & Noble or Borders, you ask? I am not against any of these retailers. I think the world of books needs them all. But if I'm not anti-Amazon or anti-chain, I am definitely pro-independent. The independent neighborhood bookseller is where readers can interact with well-informed staff, get intelligent recommendations, and discover new and unknown writers. Independents are where writers actually meet readers in face-to-face appearances.

I say this not so much for my sake, since the prizes I've been honored with guarantee that readers can find my books, wherever they shop. Rather, I'm speaking for the legions of writers who deserve an audience, and are waiting to break out. And when they do break out, it's usually through independent bookstores—an essential part of the culture of the written word.

So if you order from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or Borders, you won't get a complaint from me. Buying books is good, no matter where. But if you support your local independent bookstore, then consider this a pat on the back. Well done.

Oh, and thanks again to Mr. Pulitzer. Your forethought, sir, has had a big effect on my life.

2 comments:

brianS said...

So, you are saying you get to eat this week?

rolodexter said...

I'm a sucker for the gilded age. This one's good; I have it on the Kindle too. It reads well. It's a bio, of course, and it opens up with a court room scene that I couldn't help but think of Howard Hughes, as I skimmed through those first pages. This one won a Pulitzer, and he's made the rounds, hitting various NPR shows, doing readings, etc. In other words, it isn't an independent offering.