Here at NWBL, we’ve recently printed a couple of pieces concerning the anticipated release of Bainbridge author Jonathan Evison’s novel West of Here, which had been set for Feb. 15. Imagine our surprise when West of Here debuted at #9 on the Jan. 23 version of the Pacific Northwest Independent Bestseller List. Was it a glitch? Massive pre-sales for his Northwest book release tour? We tossed a couple of fact-finding questions at Algonquin Books Marketing Director Craig Popelars, who essentially told us, it was just ready. “Honestly, there’s no real story. There was talk about a strict on-sale date but we never put it in stone. Traditionally, we always have our books in the stores three weeks to a month prior to the publication date. The pub date is really for publicity. Basically, saying no reviews of the book should run prior to that date.”
It makes sense, but Algonquin is something of a rarity in the publishing world when it comes to rubber release dates. When we picked Popelars’ brain about why most publishers tend to stick to the plan, regardless of whether books are sitting in a warehouse ready to go, he gave us this, claiming his boss actually created a video regarding publishers setting pub dates. We bored him with our questions, and we know better.