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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Harry Potter and the Editorial Half-Wit

The Writer's Write blog has the goods on the guy who missed out on the chance to buy the first Harry Potter book. Turns out his father missed Goodnight Moon, too. As Bugs Bunny would say, "Wotta Maroon!"

Here's a tidbit:

At lunch some time later I overheard our chief executive talking about the success of the Rowling book. So I happened to mention, with a chuckle, that we'd had a chance to buy it. Why is it that one remembers a long pause? "Chief?" I said, though to this day I don't know why, as no one called him that. "You what?" he asked, his voice trembling slightly. "May I speak with you in my office?"

The editor in question has moved on to another line of work.


Kathy Hutchins said...

This ranks up there with the marketing genius at Mars who said "No" when Steven Spielberg asked for permission to use M&Ms as alien bait in ET.

Tlaloc said...

To be fair there's really no way to predict this kind of thing. The potter books while quite fine are not so unbelievably good as to warrant the reaction they have created. It is a (huge) fad. One of a million similar books that happened to hit very very big. Undoubtedly there have been much better books that have passed unnoticed in it's wake.

Anonymous said...

Stories like this circulate all the time in the publishing world, where I pass my working hours. They're usually just rumors, started at cocktail parties and afternoon-long lunches. Publishing, as tlaloc indicates, is an extremely subjective business, based largely in the gut feelings of flaky editors (like me!), so I have no doubt that some sorry saps out there have passed on bestsellers, probably even Harry Potter. But this particular story, derived from an NYT op-ed, seems to be an intentional parody.