Should Amazon be punished for releasing Margaret Atwood's new book too soon? | The Tylt
Should Amazon be punished for releasing Margaret Atwood's new book too soon?
According to literary newsletter Shelf Awareness, Margaret Atwood's "The Testaments" is under a worldwide embargo until its official release date on Sept. 10. Nevertheless, roughly 800 customers' Amazon pre-orders for the book were fulfilled a week prior to its release date. The Guardian's Alison Flood adds perspective to the scale of this leak, likening security around "The Testaments" to that of a new Harry Potter book:
Security around the novel had been as tight as anything mounted for JK Rowling or Dan Brown’s blockbuster releases – the judges for the Booker prize, who shortlisted The Testaments for the award on Wednesday, were warned they would be held liable if their watermarked copies leaked.
For independent booksellers, Amazon's leak could have catastrophic consequences. For booksellers smaller than Amazon (which is to say, all of them), a violation of the embargo on "The Testaments" would result in repercussions such as delayed sales or not being able to sell the book at all. Punishments like these would have a huge impact on independent booksellers' annual revenue, and many are calling for Amazon to face the same consequences.
Amazon quickly apologized for the leak, and the retailer did not continue to distribute "The Testaments" after the error was identified. Vanity Fair's Kevin Fitzpatrick reports:
An Amazon spokesperson said that a technical glitch had caused the error.
“We apologize for this error; we value our relationship with authors, agents, and publishers, and regret the difficulties this has caused them and our fellow booksellers,” the spokesperson said.
"The Testaments" is currently a No. 1 Best Seller on Amazon. To delay shipments of the book or to bar Amazon from selling the novel altogether would result in thousands of disappointed customers.