Welcome to READERS' BOOKS, Sonoma's literary gathering place where you'll find good books, good talk, lots of events, and opinions, jokes, and music in abundance.
Located in the town of SONOMA in the heart of California's lovely and historic WINE COUNTRY, we are a general bookstore with a particular focus on contemporary fiction, poetry, children's literature, food, wine and religion. We carry both new and used books and host several author events each week.
We are located one-half block off the Sonoma Plaza on the southeast side.
Show Me the Money
The other day I read a newspaper article about a small publisher in Santa Rosa who is being sued by an author who claimed that her reputation was tarnished because the publisher allowed 260 typos to be printed in the final version of her book. God knows, publishers, like everyone else, make mistakes now and then, but what irked the budding author, Terri Bruce, was that she caught those 260 typos when she reviewed the final proof and alerted the publisher, Damnation Books, to that fact. She pointed them out and demanded they be fixed, and damn if Damnation did nothing about it. Now her book, with all its multitude of mistakes, is in print for the whole world to see. She has been made to look stupid and incompetent, which she feels naturally, she is not. And worse still, she's been publically and gratuitously humiliated, which, any woman, from Hester Prynne to Carrie, knows is a punishable offense.
We probably ought to leave aside the fact that Ms. Bruce's novel, Hereafter, is a dark tale about a 36-year old bar-hopping woman who dies in a drunken car crash and struggles mightily in her afterlife. Okay, let's just say it's not my cup of tea to begin with, but then I am not Damnation Books, am I.
What's interesting here is that with the many calamities that have befallen the publishing world recently, you'd think they could at least still remember how to spell and punctuate and such. They used to care, after all. Up until the middle of the last century, publishing, like horse breeding, was considered a gentleman's profession. There were folks out there willing to take a new author under his or her wing and nurture them along, knowing full well they probably wouldn't make a dime from the first three novels. They were people of culture, but also people of faith. They believed in the value of good writing. What's happened over time, however, is that publishing, like the rest of corporate life, has largely forgotten its mission. These days it's often not so much about putting out good books that people will want to read, it's about the buzz, the movie tie-in, the merchandising, and of course, somewhere in that land of smoke and mirrors, it's about the money. One sure way to make money in publishing, they've discovered, is to fire your workers-editors, proof-readers, anyone who looks ancillary, just show them the exit. The problem though, with this approach, is that while to the stock brokers on Wall Street your bottom line looks better and better, eventually the products you're churning out look worse. One poor editor cannot do it all, it turns out, and spell check can't work miracles. Inevitably, then, stuff falls through the cracks. Mistakes are made, and voila!-Terri Bruce is suing Damnation Books. I'm not saying Damnation is innocent (how innocent can you be, with a name like that?), but the real problem here is not one company's incompetence, it's the incompetent logic of capitalism everywhere.
Sadly, I have no good answer for this, except to maybe fall back on the words of Bob Dylan-- "Money doesn't talk," he said, "it screams."