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Supply and demand and book awards

Some may recall the minor literary fracas that occurred last fall when Johanna Skibsrud’s novel The Sentimentalists won the Scotiabank Giller Prize and publisher Gaspereau Press was temporarily unable to keep up with demand for the title. Gaspereau is a small press that prizes its artisanal approach to making books; the U.S. publisher Delacorte is larger and more conventional. That didn’t make much of a difference, however, when one of Delacorte’s titles, Moon over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool, won the John Newbery Medal on Jan. 10. Readers who wanted to get their hands on the YA novel were dismayed to discover it was out of stock most places. According to the Los Angeles Times, Amazon claimed that the book would be delivered “in 6“10 days,” indies would only take special orders for the book, and Barnes & Noble declared that the title wasn’t even in its system.

The L.A. Times‘s Sonja Bolle writes:

I finally broke down and borrowed a friend’s iPad to download a Kindle version. It’s the first time I’ve considered the superiority of an electronic edition to one I can hold, smell and leaf through. By Jan. 19, books had been printed, bound and rushed out to stores, and Moon over Manifest is finally the hot commodity it should have been almost two weeks ago.