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Rescue of a Lost Title or Publishing Piracy?

abstract:When Barnes & Noble outbid traditional publishers for the rights to re-issue Dow Mossman's forgotten and obscure 1972 novel The Stones of Summer, the publishing industry reacted with a boycott of the book.


September 27, 2003
— This past May, we highlighted a remarkable documentary, The Stone Reader. A valentine to books, the movie chronicled filmmaker Mark Moskowitz's search for a vanished book and its author. Despite a limited theatrical release, critical reviews by both movie and literary reviewers helped create a buzz throughout the publishing industry and many were interested in the rights to re-issue Dow Mossman's novel, The Stones of Summer.


News that book retailing giant Barnes & Noble won the subsequent bidding war set off a torrent of protest. The following is an excerpt from Publishers Weekly:


"Under other circumstances, the re-emergence of this novel about a Midwestern man’s coming-of-age in the ’60s, might be viewed simply as a heartening triumph of literary passion. But coming from B&N, the project is stirring up resentments about the chain among independent booksellers, many of whom admit they would otherwise support this kind of reissue with gusto. At the same time, for publishers who were outbid by B&N on the novel, it’s becoming a touchstone for disconcerting questions about the retailer-cum-publisher’s competitive advantage."  Read more of Charlotte Abbott's article in Publisher's Weekly (9/25/2003)


About the Author, the Book and the Movie:

Originally published to glowing reviews in 1972, Dow Mossman's first and only novel is a sweeping coming-of-age tale that spans three decades in the life of irrepressible 1950s teen Dawes Williams. Earning its author comparisons to no less than James Joyce, J. D. Salinger, and Mark Twain, this great American novel developed a passionate cult following—even as it went out of print for more than 20 years—and recently inspired Mark Moskowitz's award-winning film Stone Reader.




  • The Lost Books Club: Sign up to become of a member of this club whose mission is to "help preserve, introduce, and pass on to future generations, America’s cultural heritage by making available to the public hard-to-find, unavailable, out-of-print, or otherwise forgotten cultural works, particularly literary works".



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