One Bookstore Got the Harper Lee Situation Absolutely Right

I wrote about everything surrounding the release of Go Set a Watchman last month, but recently I read about a bookstore that handled it as well as I think anyone could have. Brilliant Books in Michigan is offering customers who pre-ordered the book a refund. Yep.

The owner of the store felt that refunds were the right route to take because those customers pre-ordered the book based on the incorrect assumption that it was a sequel. And everyone and their mom now knows that isn’t the case.

This is just one bookstore. I’m a little surprised that more stores haven’t already figured out how to do something about their customers who believed this to a “new” book. Because this is not a case of readers just not liking the book. This is the case of a new book not being a new book. It isn’t a sequel. It isn’t a prequel. It isn’t anything new. It amounts to a draft that was not meant for publication.

Let me just stop before I start rambling. What do you think about this store offering customers a refund?


On this day in 2014 I published Need Some Motivation to get back to Writing?.

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22 thoughts on “One Bookstore Got the Harper Lee Situation Absolutely Right

  1. Go Michigan!!!!
    And something happened where I was trying on my app to click on your icon and it clicked unfollow instead. Gah!!! I didn’t mean it! Obviously I clicked follow again.
    And the new theme is pretty swanky!!! It’s not showing completely on my phone, but I love the colors.

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  2. Considering Richard Castle… a fictional character… is a published author, and considering the amount of tripe that is published on a daily basis… I don’t see why a bookstore would offer a refund for any book that’s been read. “It didn’t live up to my loft expectations/the media hype” isn’t exactly a reason to give a refund. If that’s the case… I want my money back for buying my already-read copy of Twilight! πŸ˜‰

    I dunno… they can offer a refund if they want… but that’s why the review system exists. If you’re unsure, then wait a while, read some reviews, go flip through the first few pages either online or in the store, and determine whether or not you want to make a purchase.

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    • The refund is for pre-orders.

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      • In that case… I’m fairly certain you can cancel any pre-order. I know you can on Amazon, as long as you cancel before it ships. I’ve cancelled a pre-order at Barnes & Noble. This isn’t a new thing… if this bookstore is only offering a cancellation on a pre-order of this one book, then they’re rather behind the times.

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      • Why would someone cancel a pre-order if they aren’t reading anything about the book before it’s released? Not everyone is paying attention that stuff. I’d bet plenty if people just pre-ordered because if the name and knew nothing else about it.

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      • I have cancelled a pre-order on a series sequel because I decided the most current volume sucked. I’ve cancelled a pre-order because I decided I wanted something else more… and I was on a budget. I’ve cancelled pre-ordered games at GameStop because I waited until the game came out, read enough reviews to know it sucks, and decided against purchasing. They even give your $5 back at GameStop.

        In the case of this one, there were lots of reviews out before the book. Some said it was great. Some said it reads like a hodge-podge of notes cobbled together and released as under the coy disguise of a complete and contiguous novel.

        At any rate, with bookstore pre-orders, they don’t typically auto-ship. So you can totally read reviews before committing to the purchase. And you can pre-order when you know it’s going to be a hot-selling item. The long and short is… cancelling a pre-order isn’t new.

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      • You missed the point. Who said cancelling them is new? But I’m done. ✌

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  3. I think it’s nice that the bookstore offered refunds but not necessary. I want to read it just because it was supposedly the original story Lee wanted to publish but her editors had her hone in on scout’s childhood instead. I think people get way too caught up in what other people have been saying about the book instead of just reading it themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hm. I think we’re on opposite ends of the spectrum. I’m not going to read it because of everything that’s happened. It was never meant to be published. And if Harper Lee was obviously okay with that decision from so long ago, then I’m going to respect it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • As a writer I empathize with that, there’s a lot of things I wouldn’t want published that I’ve written but at the same time I’d love to see how she grew as a writer from analyzing both works.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Have missed some of this out in the sticks in Spain but who is making any money out of the book. Harper Lee doesn’t need it. The refund is just a gesture for a very specific situation. Interesting though how her draft was moulded and then became a classic.

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