obamas-challenge-cover.jpgAs news spread yesterday about the bookselling industry’s outrage at Chelsea Green, the independent publisher that decided to give Amazon.com a two-week window of exclusivity on Obama’s Challenge, its attempt to define the agenda for an Obama presidency before the man even accepts his party’s nomination, the company did manage to find some defenders. Former employee Jennifer Nix used her new Huffington Post bully pulpit to suggest liberals need to get their act together: “The left seems unable or unwilling to absorb the important lesson about supporting progressive books,” she says, “so they, too, will debut on bestseller lists [and] monopolize media coverage…”

“Once again, a meticulously-reported and intelligent progressive book may die on the vine, from lack of progressive support, before word of it reaches the American public. On our side, we have no wingnut-welfare type support for our writers, who take the time to write and promote their work tirelessly in an effort to advance the progressive cause. Despite the odds, a precious few scratch and claw their way onto bestseller lists post-pub date, after tortuous weeks of book-touring and self-promotion, in the face of giant collective yawns from the progressive community. Most go to all this trouble, and still don’t make the lists.”

Also, she says, it’s wrong for independent booksellers to dogpile on Chelsea Green for having the courage to break free of the old way of doing things: “This isn’t just about business. It’s about activism and defeating the right, and getting our messages and ideas out in the most effective ways possible,” she writes. “A few thousand POD copies of Obama’s Challenge will lead to more people walking through your doors and asking for the book before the election. Boycotting this book is a mistake, and you know it.”

Read more