Nancy Pearl, the librarian of 'Book Lust,' signs a deal with Amazon(Read article summary)
'Why is Nancy Pearl partnering with a predatory company like Amazon?' ask some in the book world.
By Josh Armstrong
Itâs a move that has some betrayed bibliophiles asking, âEt tu, Nancy?â
Yes, rockstar librarian Nancy Pearl, of âBook Lustâ fame, has signed a deal with Amazon. Earlier this month, the online behemoth bookseller announced âBook Lust Rediscoveries,â a series of Pearlâs favorite, out-of-print books that will be published and made available for sale via Amazon.com. Each of the books is personally selected by Pearl and will include an introduction, discussion questions, and list of recommended readings from her. The first two books to be published in the series are âA Gay and Melancholy Sound,â by Merle Miller, and âAfter Life,â by Rhian Ellis.
âIâm thrilled that Book Lust Rediscoveries makes it possible to republish many of my all-time favorite novels, all of which have long been out of print,â Nancy Pearl said in a statement with Amazon. âHelping these wonderful books find new readers is, for me, a joy and a delight. I was blown away by Amazon Publishingâs enthusiasm for the project and the extent to which they really understood what I wanted to do.â
Pearl is among the most respected bibliophiles in the literary world, known for her fresh and fearless commentary on the role of literature, literacy, and libraries in American society. A frequent commentator on NPR, Pearl is the inventor of the successful âOne book, One City,â literacy campaign and has won numerous awards for promoting books and reading. Heck, the woman even has a bobblehead named after her.
So, asks Paul Oliver of Melville House Books, âWhat is she doing partnering with a predatory company like Amazon?â
No doubt, itâs a move many of her supporters are questioning. Writes Paul Constant in a report for Seattleâs âThe Strangerâ: â[M]any of the local librarians and independent booksellers who supported her and her Book Lust TV show and series of books will feel disappointed, and even betrayed, by the move. Many librarians distrust Amazon.comâs spotty privacy issues and independent booksellers have a long history of issues with the Seattle-based online retailer.â
Adds Vladimir Verano of Third Place Press in a blog with the Seattle Weekly, "I kind of feel disappointed that Nancy's choice will have a sense of betrayal with a lot of librarians and independent booksellers across the country, not just Seattle."
Pearl says she isnât surprised by the reaction.
âThere's been pushback that I've gone over to the dark side and allied myself with these people who are destroying the book business as we know it," Pearl told NPRâs Lynn Neary.
But it turns out Pearl and her agent shopped the idea to many publishers and Amazon jumped at the chance to work with the respected librarian. âShe had reservations about going with Amazon,â reports NPR, âbut says she and her agent shopped the idea to other publishers who didn't pick it up. Pearl says she and her agent were impressed my Amazon's enthusiasm for âresurrecting books that never should have gone out of print in the first place.ââ
Weâre excited that these out-of-print books will be made available to public again and applaud Pearl for finding a way to make her âdream come true,â as she described it to 94.9 KUOW.
What do you think? Was Pearlâs move a betrayal or a blessing to her supporters?
Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.