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Arts & Entertainment

Book publishers to newsrooms: Recycle these for us, please

Kevin Ferguson/KPCC

I know I'm going to sound snotty about this, but above this text you'll find eight copies of the same book. All of them came to KPCC in the mail, totally unsolicited. According to the jacket, Perla is a novel about a woman born and raised in Buenos Aires. It takes place--presumably--in Buenos Aires. The author--Oakland's Carolina De Robertis--"illuminates a dark contemporary Latin American culture." We rarely put novels on our shows, and even rarer do we have novelists on without some tangible connection to Southern California. This book doesn't appear to pass the test.

Nevertheless, we got eight copies.

And yes, KPCC still only produces four programs. 

I'm only singling out Perla because it came down the pike recently. We get books like this all the time. So many, we have to judge them by their cover. Literally. Don't these things use up a lot of paper? And money? How much did it cost to ship these eight books? To print them? And how many copies did other news outlets get? 

So why not send just one book? We can pass it around. Or use email? Some info about the book and author, maybe a few excerpts--we can ask for a review copy if we need more. And if it's an emergency, the publisher can overnight it. Wouldn't that be nice?

Perla might be an instant classic, a "gripping and historically resonant tale with keen-eyed compassion, luminous prose, and a startling vision of the incomparable power of love." But this blog is the only place it'll show up on KPCC. We'd like to feature all of them, really, but we can't. Alfred A. Knopf published Ms. Robertis' book, and presumably knows this. But the publisher sent us eight copies anyway.

To be totally fair, I'll close with a mitigating piece of info. I talked with Madeleine Brand about this, she agreed to a point. But she quickly pulled a up a book--a novel by a New Yorker, no less--she says she might otherwise have ignored.

Until she saw the cover:

And you know what? It worked.