From Midwest Booksellers
Independent booksellers have a long and successful history of handling confidential information about forthcoming books, acting as reliable, established partners in releasing countless books while exhibiting all the necessary discretion. Chronicle ignored that record of success for a very visible and important book, and in doing so harmed independent bookstores.
In agreeing to an unequal and unfair release of Marlon Bundo, Chronicle made independent bookstores appear irrelevant--not only to potential customers, but also to the customers we've worked so hard to establish. They reinforced the mistaken idea that the first and best source of desirable, topical books is a single online retailer, not any of the hundreds of local independent bookstores in communities across the Midwest and the country.
Independent bookstores have long championed free and full access to books, and we expect our partner businesses to do the same. We invite Chronicle Books to consider the lasting implications of their actions. We call on them to acknowledge the unfortunate results of their decision and to take steps to reassure booksellers and readers that they are committed to a fair and equitable marketplace for their books now and into the future.
With much respect,
The board of the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association
From Chronicle Books
On behalf of Chronicle Books, I apologize for any frustrations you have experienced these past few days following the launch of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo. I hope you know from your history working with us as an indie ourselves that this was certainly not our intention.
Among the myriad ways you uphold civil rights every day, MANY THANKS to all of you who’ve pledged support for ‘every bunny who has ever felt different’ as well as to the work of the Trevor Project and AIDS United, which will be receiving proceeds from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Chronicle Books, and so many of you through sales of this book.
We had to ensure that the book was a complete surprise for the Last Week Tonight with John Oliver audience. So, after much deliberation and exploration of other options, we ultimately agreed to make the book available for purchase at the time of the on-air surprise by allocating a percentage of the print run to Amazon and making the rest of the first print run available to all our other retailers as soon as possible. We knew it wasn’t a matter of embargoing the book, nor did we think a blind release would guarantee the integrity of the surprise.
While its launch isn’t how we’d normally go about business, none of us predicted how phenomenally viewers and readers would respond to John Oliver’s announcement – and that we’d go from 40,000 copies in print to 400,000 in the pipeline in 4 days. Our #1 goal right now is to get this book into your store and into those eager readers’ hands. I recognize this is not moving as quickly as we would like with current orders and we have addressed this with our distributor, Hachette Book Group. We are working with multiple domestic printers to print more books quickly as possible. In the meantime, we thank you very much for your patience and your understanding.
I would be grateful if you shared this missive with your members as well.
With gratitude, appreciation, and renewed apologies,