In response to the release of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo and follow up letter from Tyrrell Mahoney, President of Chronicle Books.
[Also included is the initial letter from Tyrrell Mahoney, President of Chronicle Books.]
The GLIBA Board was greatly discouraged by the way Chronicle Books chose to handle the initial launch of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo. We all had a strong response to the release, and then to the follow up letter from Tyrrell Mahoney. By sending most of the stock to Amazon for the initial lay down, Chronicle is teaching the consumer and all the world that Books=Amazon. Continuing to supply Amazon as the first point of purchase only serves to cement that idea in our customers’ minds. We strongly refute that premise and can point to any number of examples of embargoed books from other publishers in which ALL outlets were given equal access to the initial sales. Every Oprah Book Club selection for years has benefited from all retailers having an opportunity to sell the book from the lay down. Many of us have websites where we could have immediately sold Marlon Bundo to our customers. Instead, our loyal customers that choose to support us are STILL waiting for the books because the Indies have received little or no stock. It is unfortunate that Chronicle does not see us as professionals capable of doing our jobs, or as trusted partners in the business, especially as so many of our stores have carried their product in good faith over the years. Ultimately, it is our hope that they will choose, in the future, to recognize the Indie market as the viable, profitable one that it is.
President of GLIBA & Owner of The Learned Owl Book Shop
A letter from President of Chronicle Books Tyrrell Mahoney
On behalf of Chronicle Books, I apologize for any frustrations you have experienced these past few days following the launch of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo. I hope you know from your history working with us as an indie ourselves that this was certainly not our intention.
Among the myriad ways you uphold civil rights every day, MANY THANKS to all of you who’ve pledged support for ‘every bunny who has ever felt different’ as well as to the work of the Trevor Project and AIDS United, which will be receiving proceeds from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Chronicle Books, and so many of you through sales of this book.
We had to ensure that the book was a complete surprise for the Last Week Tonight with John Oliver audience. So, after much deliberation and exploration of other options, we ultimately agreed to make the book available for purchase at the time of the on-air surprise by allocating a percentage of the print run to Amazon and making the rest of the first print run available to all our other retailers as soon as possible. We knew it wasn’t a matter of embargoing the book, nor did we think a blind release would guarantee the integrity of the surprise.
While its launch isn’t how we’d normally go about business, none of us predicted how phenomenally viewers and readers would respond to John Oliver’s announcement – and that we’d go from 40,000 copies in print to 400,000 in the pipeline in 4 days. Our #1 goal right now is to get this book into your store and into those eager readers’ hands. I recognize this is not moving as quickly as we would like with current orders and we have addressed this with our distributor, Hachette Book Group. We are working with multiple domestic printers to print more books quickly as possible. In the meantime, we thank you very much for your patience and your understanding.
With gratitude, appreciation, and renewed apologies,
President of Chronicle Books