While traveling back from Iowa last night, I got a tip from several anonymous sources who said that beloved Seattle book figure (and librarian action figure model) Nancy Pearl had signed a publishing deal with Amazon.com. I just got off the phone with Pearl. Here's how the conversation went.
The Stranger: I hear you're going to be published by Amazon.com.
Nancy Pearl: I can't comment on that.
You can't give me anything?
Not yet. I'm sorry. [Pause] Where did you hear that?
While it's ordinarily not a big deal when an author moves from one publisher to another, this rumored deal could have greater repercussions in the Seattle book world. Pearl has ascended from local librarian—she started the "If All Seattle Read the Same Book" program—to local celebrity, to a national figurehead for reading and literacy. Her previous collections of book recommendations, published under the Book Lust brand, became a bestselling sensation for local publisher Sasquatch Books.
If Pearl is bringing her recommendations to Amazon.com, many of the local librarians and independent booksellers who supported her and her Book Lust TV show and series of books will feel disappointed, and even betrayed, by the move. Many librarians distrust Amazon.com's spotty privacy issues and independent booksellers have a long history of issues with the Seattle-based online retailer.
I'll post updates to this story as it develops right here on Slog.