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why we have book embargoes. August 15, 2010

Posted by Katie in shoptalk.

Obviously, if you haven’t heard by now, copies of “Mockingjay” have been spotted on bookshelves, and in libraries, and the feverish tweets of “OMG, I HAVE IT” have started.

But the official release date of August 24th is nine days away.

I spent the greater part of my day driving to four different bookstores in the area looking for a copy of the book on shelf.

Not because I needed to have the book first, not because I am dying to know what happens next (although…), not because I was planning on reading it today.

But because I am very afraid of logging onto Twitter sometime this week and seeing a tweet very much like this one, “OMG _____ DIES. (pg. 33)” or “Katniss chooses _________. (pg. 300)”

Book embargoes are in place so that fans of high-profile books (Harry Potter, Twilight, and now The Hunger Games) get to experience reading the books at the same time and so spoilers are not leaked. Book embargoes create the possibility of equal access.

I am particularly upset to hear that libraries are breaking embargo and releasing their copies to the public ahead of time. (I have already checked my library’s system and so far, none are checked out.)

While I don’t begrudge the people who have managed to obtain their copies of “Mockingjay” beforehand, I am nervous on the Internet now.

The only way to protect myself right now is either to log off the Internet until I’ve read the book (impossible as a librarian), or to get a copy. Neither options are feasible.

So, I will wait until the 24th and hope that my experience will not be tainted by someone else’s.



1. GreenBeanTeenQueen - August 16, 2010

I saw on Twitter yesterday someone who had it from her library. I know that when there are strict book embargos, like there is for Mockingjay, our collection department signs a statement that they won’t open the box until that day and the boxes even come stamped with “do not open until this date” on them. I was very upset and saddened to see a library of all places breaking this embargo! I’m afraid of spoilers now too and I don’t want my reading experience ruined. I’m still upset that it was a library breaking the rule!

2. A little food for thought | Alejandra Aponte - December 21, 2011

[…] I suspect Barnes and Noble will ammend their mistake by maybe Having Words on the Internet, and by paying John Green some Benjamins, because it turns out that the book, being highly anticipated and all, was/is embargoed. (For more information on book embargoes, read this.) […]

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