Enron

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1. A Salon article quote by Richard Nash to the effect that independent publishers "got fucked by the Enron of publishing" has been getting a lot of mileage. In fact, this is no mere sound-bite, and the similarities between the AMS disaster and the Enron scandal go more than skin deep. In both cases, high-rolling top-tier business executives made reckless and dishonest decisions that affected the lives of countless trusting investors, partners and customers. The top Enron criminals are now either in jail or dead, but the goons over at AMS are still playing golf and sailing yachts as independent publishers like Soft Skull and Thunder's Mouth suffer the consequences. I'm wondering when the Department of Justice is going to tell us exactly what the executive board at AMS thought they were doing as they ran the essential book distributor Publishers Group West into the ground and defaulted on their payments.

Please read Priya Jain's article -- I have a feeling we have not yet heard the last of the AMS story, and I hope journalists will keep digging.

2. Richard Hell is making a movie, and he's put a scene (featuring himself and his assistant, whose neck he admires) up on YouTube. As I watched one of my favorite writers (not to mention musicians) method-acting in his Jim Jarmusch mood, I couldn't help wishing I could spend a few hours checking out which books were in the Richard Hell bookshelf in the scene.

3. Dwight Garner of the New York Times Book Review is already breaking out a full-blast casual first person voice in his well-written personal note about Laura "J. T. LeRoy" Albert at Paper Cuts. I think a true blogger was born today.

4. Furthur crashes into Millbrook in a vintage video over at Syntax.

5. Garth Risk Hallberg on Nell Freudenberger's The Dissident.

6. Curmudgeons and Caterwumpi at OUPBlog.
9 Responses to "Enron"

by Stokey on

techno-logiSoft Skull doesn't have a myspace page, nor a real good archive of their products. I was doing a write-up of one of their authors and couldn't find his book listed. Tried to check this first with Nash on his blog site, but 'comments' doesn't function.

by Billectric on

J.T. LeRoyDammit, why can't I think of a good lie to get famous?I don't see what all the hoopla is about.

by R. W. Watkins on

The Acquisition of Soft SkullI'm willing to bet a checkered fart that the goons who've acquired Soft Skull are not quite sure if they've purchased the rights to a small publishing company, a sample of fossilised Cro-Magnon fontanella, a Marvel Comics supervillian introduced in 1941, or a 1980s 'no wave' band in the style of Sonic Youth.

by Stokey on

Couple of things - first I was wrong about the myspace - Soft Skull does have one. Sorry. Second, I was writing a review of Henry Baum's 'Oscar Caliber Gun' published by Soft Skull, but not mentioned in their catalogue.

by Billectric on

HeeHeee... that was funny.

by marydell on

Although AMS (which, really, is scandalous more along the lines of Cendant than Enron) is run by goons, Charlie Winton is exceptionally savvy about the book business. He made PGW into a distribution giant before selling it to AMS, and PGW's business was solvent until AMS got caught cooking the books. In acquiring Soft Skull, I guarantee Winton knows exactly what he purchased.

by willtupper on

They are also on MySpace, although they've not been "on" MySpace for almost a month, now.myspace.com/softskullAnd, yes: who were you looking for?

by brooklyn on

I'll stand with Marydell on this one -- I'm glad somebody was willing to back Soft Skull at all. I don't think they are the villains in this sad tale. Let's keep that big magnifying glass focused on AMS and not spread our contempt too wide. I'm just surprised, when I mentioned the Department of Justice in my original post, that nobody commented on the unspoken irony there. Talk about goons ...