Simon and Schuster, publisher of Mark Whitaker’s Cosby: His Life and Times—much maligned for glossing over Bill Cosby’s long history of sexual assault allegations—has pulled all the celebrity blurbs from the book’s listings on Amazon and elsewhere, the AP reports. In some cases, the celebrities themselves asked to have their endorsements scrubbed from the internet.
It's such a headache for authors to think of notable acquaintances and friends-of-friends to needle for blurbs for the back of their book. Arianna Huffington recently got caught in her blurb assembly line, offering the same one twice. Some authors firmly say no to everyone, shutting down their blurb factory. The NYT writes of a new company that lets you buy (or sell) a blurb—but authors should really just ask Thomas Pynchon. "Recently, Post Road magazine published [reclusive author] Pynchon's collected blurbs from the years 1966 to 2003 - more than two dozen in all." [NYT]
Stephen King weighs in on the practice of blurbing ("A tour de force!") for Entertainment Weekly. ''Never blurb a book you've read and never read a book you've blurbed," advises his "cynical writer acquaintance." And did you know? The back-of-cover blurb, these days, is less about how good the book is and more about who the author can wrangle to write a few lines of faint praise! (King would know. He confesses to having blurbed about a hundred books!) Well, here's the back cover for Son of Hope: the Prison Journals of David Berkowitz, aka the Son of Sam serial killer. You'd have to be a saint to blurb him — all he got was some priests!
"The Rest Is Noise," New Yorker classical music critic Alex Ross's history of the 20th century, is now all printed up. (The book will be released on October 16th.) And what's this we see on the back cover? Blurbs from the likes of lit critic Louis Menand and the author of The Oxford History of Western Music and... BJORK?! Not to be a geek-nerd-spaz, but you probably couldn't win more points in the Great Blurb Competition that is our modern age if Nina Simone had blurbed the book from beyond the grave.