9780743274067.jpgBook publicists around the world cringed when the NY Times broke Hachette Book Group’s embargoes on Ted Kennedy‘s memoir last week. The company was so flustered by the break, that they hired a private detective to follow the trail of the leak.

In a new web essay, publicist Yen Cheong explained the logic behind embargoes and outlined the delicate procedures book publicists follow to keep embargoes intact in this difficult publishing environment. Cheong also explores the history of the book embargo, which some think began with Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward‘s 1976 book “The Final Days.”

Here’s more from the post: “In a world in which media outlets are all fighting to survive (and publishing houses are jockeying for shrinking book coverage), it’s not unexpected that access to a hot commodity would be limited. Enter the embargoed book. For book publicists working on embargoed titles, planning publicity campaigns and scheduling interviews becomes an intricate dance in which one false–if unintended–step can torpedo the relationships we work for years to build.”