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So, What Do You Read?

Dog Lovers Hijack Barnes & Noble Facebook Page

No, the page hasn’t been hacked or anything. But since the news broke last week that the bookseller planned on hosting book signings for former dogfighter Michael Vick, Barnes & Noble’s Facebook page has become something of a discussion board for animal lovers. Vick’s appearances were cancelled by his publisher, but that hasn’t stopped the protestors.

There are literally hundreds of comments left by people criticizing Barnes & Noble, many promising to boycott the company, and from what we can tell, none have been deleted.

Arguments have broken out among the commenters, resulting in impassioned debates on topics including animal rights, the banning of books, prisoner reform, corporate ethics, and the correlation between animal abuse and sociopathy. There is name-calling, emotional bonding, and a whole mess of spelling errors. In short, it’s a free-for-all, and has been for nearly a week.

Whoever runs the Barnes & Noble Facebook page is either a passionate supporter of open debate, or falling asleep on the job.

Here’s hoping they never wake up.

 

Previously on FishbowlLA:
Publisher Says Threats of Violence Behind Cancellation of Michael Vick Book Tour
Michael Vick Book Signings Spark Barnes & Noble Boycott
Michael Vick’s Appearances at Barnes & Noble Stores Cancelled

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Publisher Says Threats of Violence Behind Cancellation of Michael Vick Book Tour

When Barnes & Noble announced Monday the cancellation of Michael Vick‘s scheduled book signings at 3 of the bookseller’s stores, animal lovers celebrated. Thousands had protested Vick’s appearances at the B&N stores through an online petition, calls to the bookseller’s customer service line, and comments on the Facebook pages of B&N and Vick. For a moment, it seemed like a grassroots victory. Tweets like these summarized the celebratory tone:

But this was not a case of a corporation finding their conscience. On Monday afternoon, Vick’s publisher released a statement that the book tour had been cancelled by Worthy Publishing “after credible threats of personal harm and property damage were received by Barnes & Noble Booksellers and distinguished independent bookstore Books & Greetings in Northvale, New Jersey.”

With one press release, the story had changed. Both Barnes & Noble and Michael Vick had become sympathetic characters, their detractors potentially violent criminals. The author, publisher, and book sellers were able to back out of a book tour that had become a public relations nightmare, all without ceding any ground to the protestors.

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Michael Vick’s Appearances at Barnes & Noble Stores Cancelled

According to the Barnes & Noble website, Michael Vick‘s upcoming book signing events at 3 of the bookseller’s stores have been cancelled by the book’s publisher.

Animal lovers began an online petition late last week demanding Barnes & Noble cancel Vick’s in-store appearances. The bookseller’s Facebook page quickly filled up with comments from customers angry that B&N was hosting an event with a convicted animal abuser and killer.

Protestors got their way, but if the B&N website is to be believed, it is Worthy Publishing, the publisher of Vick’s book Finally Free: An Autobiography, that cancelled the events. Whether the cancellations were a reaction to customer protests remains unclear. Neither Barnes & Noble nor Worthy Publishing have commented the issue. We’ve reached out to both companies, but have yet to hear back.

Previously on FishbowLA: Michael Vick Book Signings Spark Barnes & Noble Boycott

Michael Vick Book Signings Spark Barnes & Noble Boycott

Bookselling giant Barnes & Noble is taking some heat for hosting multiple signings this month for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback and convicted animal abuser Michael Vick. Vick is scheduled to appear at the stores to promote his new book, Michael Vick: Finally Free An Autobiography.

A petition was started last week asking Barnes & Noble to cancel the signings, and the bookseller’s Facebook page has since been flooded with comments from angry customers. Many readers are vowing that they will never shop at B&N again if the company doesn’t cancel Vick’s scheduled appearances, and several have called for B&N to stop selling the book altogether.

While we at FishbowlLA aren’t generally in favor of boycotting bookstores, it’s hard to see gruesome photographs of the victims of dogfighting and remain impartial.

We’ve reached out to Barnes & Noble for their reaction to the controversy, and will let you know if we hear back.

SATURDAY: The Black Isle Discussion and Signing at Vroman’s

I have a guilt-inducing shelf full of books by friends and colleagues that I’ve every intention of reading, but, because I am lazy, never do. Recently, when a casual acquaintance sent me her new novel, a bit of historical fiction entitled The Black Isle, I cracked the cover out of mere politeness. And was promptly sucked in to a hypnotic tale of romance, intrigue, war, ghosts, colonialism, and a touch of octopus sex.

This book is not for everyone. It’s dark and twisted, and frankly, it gave me nightmares. But if you’ve the stomach for that sort of thing, you should head over to Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena on Saturday, where author Sandi Tan will be discussing her new work. I will probably see you there, because after reading her book, I have a mad girl-crush on Ms. Tan and want her to be my new best friend. Also, they sometimes have snacks at these things.

Saturday the 11th, 4 pm, Vroman’s, 695 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, 626-449-5320.

Journalists are Having a Field Day with Fox News Magazine

Fox News launched the women’s lifestyle website this week, and it is horrifying. The target audience appears to be women with low self-esteem and an IQ of 12. It’s chock full of gems like “Is Your Frozen Dinner Making You Fat?” and “10 Reasons Why Prince William Really IS Prince Charming.” The thing is a train wreck. And we can’t stop reading it.

We’re not alone. Steve Kovach of Business Insider is live tweeting Fox News Magazine as we speak. Jezebel did a round-up of the site’s 5 stupidest articles. The Atlantic Wire calls it “Listicles about fat and sex.” Mother Jones asks, “Um, Fox News lifestyles magazine? For women circa 1955?Mike Madden tweeted that this week’s Washington City Paper “will be delayed while I spend the rest of the day being amazed by the Fox News lifestyle magazine.” Meanwhile, we all keep giving it page hits because we just can’t seem to help ourselves.

The article most deserving of those page hits has to be “10 Pranks That Will Spice Up Your Relationship,” a list of recommended grade-school tricks like gluing a coin to the ground that will supposedly lead to hot sex. And be sure to read the comments before they all get deleted.

Jerry Stahl Blogs the Birth of His Daughter

Author and screenwriter Jerry Stahl been chronicling the final month of his girlfriend’s pregnancy over at The Rumpus, calling himself the “OG Dad.” That’s OG for Old Guy, which may sound harsh for a man of 58, but as Stahl explains, when his new daughter is 12, he’ll be 70.

The blogging culminated Thursday with an account of the birth of his daughter, as gritty and raw as you’d expect from the author of Permanent Midnight. Fans of the junkie memoir will recall that when Stahl’s first child was born, he was high on black tar heroin. But two decades of clean living later, Stahl is sober enough to observe every excruciating moment of his girlfriend’s labor:

I’m at my post, by the head of the bed, mopping E’s brow with a weirdly scrapey washrag. The doctor glances up at me. “HERE SHE COMES! Come on Daddy, do you want to see?”

And without thinking, I leave the head of the bed and stagger to the foot, where, before I can blink, I see some kind of long black probe protruding from E’s savaged vagina. “Jesus fuck! What is that? An antenna!?”

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Encyclopaedia Britannica Kills Print Edition

Another blow for print: After 244 years, Encyclopaedia Britannica will cease publication of its annual multi-volume book sets. The company is jumping on the all-digital bandwagon.

This is heartbreaking news to those of us nostalgic for the pre-Wikipedia era, and likely meaningless to the average high school student. But it shouldn’t be surprising. The book sets may be what most people think of when they hear the company name, but sales of the print edition account for less than 1% of Britannica’s sales. Digital is much more profitable for the company these days.

That means the 2010 encyclopedia set will be the final print edition. And it can be yours for just $1,395!

Alternately, an annual subscription to Britannica Online costs just 70 bucks, and you’ll have money left over for a trip to Cancun. Nostalgia solved.

LA Zine Fest This Weekend!

If you thought blogs killed the zine, you’ll be heartened to learn that the indie tradition of homemade publishing in print is alive and well, and being celebrated this weekend here in town.

The L.A. Zine Fest takes place this Sunday at the downtown Spring Arts Tower, in The Last Bookstore and on the floor above. The event will feature panel discussions, workshops, even a conversation between Henry Rollins and the legendary V. Vale of RE/Search Publications. L.A. Record will host an afterparty in the bookstore, with KXLU DJs spinning.

A pre-fest Comix & Zine Reading is planned for Saturday evening at the art gallery Home Room. Over a dozen local artists are participating, including the creators of FishbowlLA’s beloved comic Henry & Glenn Forever.

All events are free.

Thursday’s Mediabistro Must-Reads

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