Thursday, March 08, 2012

Revisiting the Penguin-Amazon-Kiana Davenport Thang

It seems that Penguin was all read to publish The Chinese Soldier’s Daughter (original title, sigh) by Kiana Davenport until they found she had self-published some short stories (Cannibal Nights) through Amazon. When she refused to deleted the collection, they cancelled the release.

Now I don't know exactly what was in the contract, and there seems to have been a right of first refusal.  In which case the author did screw up. I totally get that.(And the author's poor David vs Goliath posturing does nothing for me). You could, however, argue that a different genre and length means the work failed to have the "resemblance" necessary to trigger the clause.

Either way, dumping the book, allowing Amazon to pick it up, rename it The Spy Lover and laugh all the way to the bank while using the whole brouhaha for publicity... well. I agree with Streitfeld: That's a dumb move. It plays into those pervasive self-pub stereotypes about big publishers being controlling and not willing to share their toys.

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