Thursday, February 02, 2006

Dishonesty still sucks, and it still pays... very well indeed

Sure, James Frey has partially admitted that his book A Million Little Pieces is a work of fiction, but not fully, and he is still reaping profits from sales of the book.

But I'm not sure which is worse, his dishonesty, or the fact that so many people are so accepting of it. The book is still #6 on Amazon. And this only reaffirms my theory of truth: most people would prefer a salacious story to boring facts.

Here's the disclaimer from the publisher that Amazon has posted on the book's web page:

The controversy over James Frey's A Million Little Pieces has caused serious concern at Doubleday and Anchor Books. Recent interpretations of our previous statement notwithstanding, it is not the policy or stance of this company that it doesnÂ’t matter whether a book sold as nonfiction is true. A nonfiction book should adhere to the facts as the author knows them.

It is, however, Doubleday and Anchor's policy to stand with our authors when accusations are initially leveled against their work, and we continue to believe this is right and proper. A publisher's relationship with an author is based to an extent on trust. Mr. Frey's repeated representations of the book's accuracy, throughout publication and promotion, assured us that everything in it was true to his recollections. When the Smoking Gun report appeared, our first response, given that we were still learning the facts of the matter, was to support our author. Since then, we have questioned him about the allegations and have sadly come to the realization that a number of facts have been altered and incidents embellished.

We bear a responsibility for what we publish, and apologize to the reading public for any unintentional confusion surrounding the publication of A Million Little Pieces. We are immediately taking the following actions:

  • We are issuing a publisher's note to be included in all future printings of the book.*
  • James Frey has written an author's note that will appear in all future printings of the book.* Read the author's note.
  • The jacket for all future editions will carry the line "With new notes from the publisher and from the author."

    *Customers should find the Author's Note and Publisher's Note in copies purchased from Amazon.com after April 15, 2006.
  • Note the link to the author's mea culpa, which I frankly find to be woefully insufficient.

    In short, dishonesty still sucks big time, but it pays so well.

    Note: I do personally get a very small commission if you buy the book after clicking on one of my links.

    -- Jack Krupansky

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