From A Million Little Fabrications to A Million Little Refunds

Jame’s Frey has certainly managed to get himself into some hot hot water. Following up on Nikkos’ post, Oprah isn’t the only one who needs to save face; Random House is offering an unprecedented return deal for people who have purchased the book directly from the publishing house.

Uh. Yeah.

Because in these days of convenience, I always do all of my ordering directly from the publisher. Sure.

Random House has recommended returning book to the retailer you have purchased it from as well.

Or, just pretend it was filed under ‘fiction’ instead of ‘non-fiction’.

4 Comments so far

  1. Annie (unregistered) on January 12th, 2006 @ 9:55 am

    On Larry King last night they said that the publisher is not accepting returns of the book despite false reports that it was.


  2. Lauren (unregistered) on January 12th, 2006 @ 10:00 am

    True, they are not accepting returns for every book sold everywhere. They are accepting returns from people who bought the book direct from them. From the Random House site…

    “It has long been standard Random House Inc procedure to direct consumers who want a refund on any of the tens of thousands of books we publish back to their retail place of purchase, unless they purchased the book directly from us in which case we refund it. Yesterday we had 15 calls to our customer service line specific to A Million Little Pieces and fewer than that today. “


  3. David Perez (unregistered) on January 12th, 2006 @ 10:36 am

    In his interview with Larry King, Frey offered that, by definition, the memoir genre, whose rules and boundaries as a new genre have yet to be outlined, and therefore lends itself to the embellishments of the author.

    In fact, he admits that the book was originally shopped to different publishing houses as a novel and that the decision was ultimately made by Random House to distribute it as a memoir.

    This is where the debate begins and where it should end. James Frey is not a liar, he’s an author who got a very nice check for writing a good book and his publishers decided to label it X while some people (perhaps without book deals of their own) would prefer to call it Y.


  4. Mr. Smith (unregistered) on January 12th, 2006 @ 11:59 pm

    Frey offered that, by definition, the memoir genre, whose rules and boundaries as a new genre have yet to be outlined, and therefore lends itself to the embellishments of the author.

    Oh that’s hogwash. The memoir is hardly a new genre . Even within creative non-fiction, the expectation is that what is on the page is, for the most part, true.

    There’s embellishment and then there’s presenting as fact something that can be contradicted by public record. I think it would have made an interesting story if Frey had said “This is how I remember it. Yet the court records say something different.” It would have been a much more stunning comment on how drug abuse destroys your identity and sense of the past than just blatantly concoting portions of a story to make a point.

    Since he first shopped it as a novel, Frey knew that some of what was in those pages was not true. Merely slapping a “memoir” designation on it does not make it OK to pass it off as such. He’s not the victim of an overzealous publishing house. He’s a knowing accomplice.



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