Doubleday doubles down

So, imagine you’re a well-known black activist. One who is brave and principled enough to QUIT HIS JOB to make a point and become a full-time activist. Then imagine one of the biggest publishers in the land picked up your book of writings on your activism. Progress! Now imagine all the edits and design and sales meetings and everything that went through. All the discussion of this book’s purpose and positioning within the intellectual landscape. Now imagine receiving the printed book and finding the word “Black” stricken from the title. And finally, imagine your publisher blames this essentially on a typo. Are you a happy activist? No, no you’re not. And rightfully so. Doubleday blames “internal processes” which, unless they’re referring to internalized racism and white fragility, means someone in sales or marketing made an executive call because they thought the word “black” on the cover of a book might hurt sales. If I were working at Doubleday I would be wearing a deerhunter and walking around with a novelty-sized magnifying glass right now. The only pages in the book designed to sell the book are the covers, and there’s so much attention paid to covers that it seems hard to believe it is an accident. This blows, Doubleday, and you know it. Review your processes, train your decision-makers, and issue an actual apology instead of a flimsy excuse.

Desmond Cole

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