Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Machine of Death: a book (or [oh, see in the post])

(Or what to do when customers asks if you bought the book yet or they donate a copy...or five).

It all started last week (maybe before then, but last week it was on my radar) on Twitter when David Malki ! (of Wondermark fame who gave away books to LIBRARIES a while back) and Ryan North challenged the Twitter-verse and web comic fans alike to make their upcoming compilation book the number 1 seller on Amazon for at least one day, which was yesterday. Well, you can see here, here, and here (not sure that link will hold) that it happened, and it has gone into today. Impressive. Many, many kudos to the fact it is an Indie Book and it topped.

Well, today, the story just got a little more interesting. According to David Malki !'s Twitter here and continued here, Glenn Beck (of this book fame [I do not endorse this book, I just know that you may only know who he is by his book*]) called the book "an example of our 'culture of death.'" The Twitter-verse is just RUNNING with this and challenging the fans to buy MORE copies or convince more people to buy copies.

So, as a librarian do I purchase this book for my collection or not?

Non-librarians, here is the dilemma: there are no professional reviews backing this up (that I've seen) and it hasn't reached the NYTimes Best Seller list. These are two factors in most libraries when determining whether or not to purchase a book. While it is a talked about book, I find that the audience for this book will be small. The concept is different, but sight unseen, this is one of the few books I honestly can't say I'd pick up for my Library Collection. I'd be likely to pick it up if I knew that there was a huge Glenn Beck fan base in the area (Banned Book, anyone?), but a quick search of the county I work in** shows me this is not necessarily the case. A search of Worldcat also shows me that no one has purchased Machine of Death yet, and judging by what it is, libraries won't even start getting it until a month from now (if they do).

So, non-librarians, you now know why it might not be in your libraries and librarians, you are prepared if you should decide to purchase this book (due to all the suggestions) or know why you might suddenly end up with 1-5 copies of the book (guys, if you do donate, PLEASE don't donate more than 1, also, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE check with your librarians about their donation policy before donating).

I'm willing to review Machine of Death for this here blog, but I just want to warn you, I'm in a state of upheaval considering I'm hoping to move next week and am starting a new adventure shortly thereafter. If you want me to review before the end of next week, please annoy me (comment below or e-mail me at ReadsRantsRaves [at] gmail [dot] com or @me on and I will get a copy one way or another.

For an added bonus, I challenge everyone to get this thing on the NYTimes Best Sellers list because then EVERYONE will be talking about it. :)
*In fact, I'd like to go to DC this weekend for the Daily Show/Colbert Report March.

**Not for much longer. It's bittersweet.


David Malki ! said...

Hi! Thanks so much for the post, we really appreciate the thoughtful commentary.

MACHINE OF DEATH is indeed not in any library. It's just come out, of course, and by our own means - we didn't send Booklist or LJ a copy because we didn't have a trade distributor. Since yesterday, however, that has changed! We are in talks with a "real" distributor now and hope to be populating the "official" channels very soon.

Will we ever make the NYT list? Hard to say! This week's performance was very clearly a publicity stunt and we'd be foolish to take it as an indication of the sustained prospects for this book. However, it did accomplish what it was intended to do -- that is, put us on the radar of the people who CAN take this book and run with it in "proper" ways outside our ability.

As for the library donations -- I don't know how many donation copies I will receive, but I absolutely want to do right by libraries and I give you my solemn pledge that I won't donate it to any library that doesn't want it.


- David !

David Malki ! said...

Oh - and if you're not up for buying a copy online, I'd be happy to send you a review copy, just let me know where (email me through Wondermark). Thanks!

Little Librarian said...

Hi David !

Thank you for your comment! I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

This stunt has made me realize how tough it is for libraries to get independent books. One thing I'd like to see more of possibly, is a larger presence of independent books, but alas, that all depends on funding and interest.

By the way, congrats on getting a "real" distributor. I wish you the best!


PS: I'll be sending you an e-mail shortly.