WTF, or in which I call Bullshit on the Wall Street Journal

Would you look at how great Amazon is, promoting the hell out of the debut novel The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, which they discovered. You can’t hear me saying this out loud, so you might not detect the sarcasm. According to this article in the Wall Street Journal, “driving that unexpectedly heavy demand has been strong reviews and promotional support from ” I’m not doubting their numbers or the strength of Costco, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon’s buying power, but no where do they mention the fact that independents have been on the Sawtelle bandwagon from the beginning. I read it months and months ago and forced others at my store to read it as well. I recommended it heavily in January at the ABA Winter Institute and I wasn’t the only one. We’ve been behind this book from the moment the galleys hit our desks. I resent the WSJ ignoring that fact. Who made The Story of Edgar Sawtelle one of their Signed First Edition Club picks, the first debut novelist chosen for the program? Who asked to have David Wroblewski come to our store for a reading back in January? Who has had to ask our poor sales rep for more galleys each week? Excuse me while I take a time out.

Postscript: The first comment I got made me see that I’m not being clear here. I’m not angry that all these large chains are being Sawtelle. I think it speaks to the greatness of the book. I’m annoyed that they only spoke with B&N, Costco, and Amazon as if the independents had nothing to do with the book’s success. Basically, they’re getting all the glory and we’re getting none. It would be nice if we were recognized too.

9 thoughts on “WTF, or in which I call Bullshit on the Wall Street Journal

  1. Pingback: WTF, or in which I call Bullshit on the Wall Street Journal

  2. Steve Laniel

    With lots of due respect, I think your anger is misdirected. Being behind a book, and being responsible for “unexpectedly heavy demand,” are not the same thing.


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  4. Molly


    I am reading the Pandora Prescription by James Sheridan and I was curious if you have ever read it? Also, have you heard about this?



  5. Lynn Rosen

    I’d like to join in as another fan and early supporter of David Wroblewski as well! I teach a continuing ed class at Temple University in Philadelphia called “A Sneak Peek at Next Year’s Bestsellers.” We read THE STORY OF EDGAR SAWTELLE last spring and loved it! I’m interviewing the author now on my blog, and also interviewed him for a piece on BookShorts, which will be posted soon at


  6. Jason Kennedy

    I don’t think the anger is misdirected like Steve above mentioned. It is a bit frustrating when a the independents find a book, work the hell out of the book, and then get short changed on the credit. Trust me Steve, with a first time novelist, it is not the chains who are the cause for the demand but who are in the right place at the right time.


  7. LouisBranning

    I’m sorry, Dwarf, but last night I finished the overwrought mess that is Wroblewski’s Edgar Sawtelle and couldn’t have been more disappointed with it.


  8. Daniel G

    Wroblewski read at our store the day the Wall Street Journal piece came out and he was as surprised as we were by the article’s slant. Jefferey Trachtenberg had indicated that he was going to write about indie support for Sawtelle but did not. The problem is, indies making a book is just not a story, particularly for WSJ readers. They want to know that their stock-market darling is a big-time winner in every way possible and influencing reading tastes sure proves that, doesn’t it?


  9. Emily Russo Murtagh

    I’m writing this very post late in the game, but we too (The Odyssey Bookshop) got our hands on this wonderful novel very early on. We selected it for our First Editions Club and have sold nearly 400 copies to date. I can virtually guarantee that’s more than many of the small-town Barnes and Nobles have sold. I don’t think Dwarf’s anger is misdirected, at all, and Daniel G. hits the nail on the head. This is about money — not the love for or the quality of the book.


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