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Market research disguised as education

The blog Two Umbrellas points to an eyebrow-raising scheme: a continuing education course at Temple University in Philadelphia entitled “A Sneak Peek at Tomorrow’s Bestsellers.” According to the course description:

Every fall publishers introduce and promote a new crop of novels, books they hope are future bestsellers. This unprecedented course is your chance to get a sneak preview of five forthcoming novels from major publishers. You will read special advance copies of the books and then, as a class, critique each book and predict what readers and critics will say when the books are actually published. Contributing publishers will include: W.W. Norton, Knopf, Random House and others to be determined.

The fee for the course? $95. That’s right, people are being asked to shell out close to a C-note for the privilege of participating in a publishers’ focus group. No wonder the Two Umbrellas post is titled “A New Low.”

(Thanks to The Millions for the link.)