Michael Bryant is the Future of the Book Business


Michael Bryant's aborted attempts to leverage social media to argue that he was innocent after an altercation that led to death of cyclist Darcy Alan Sheppard two years ago failed to gain him much sympathy — despite the best efforts of PR firm Navigator — but Penguin Canada seem confident that the tale of the former Ontario attorney general's confrontation will make a few bucks in book form.

Confidence in the best-seller status of 28 Seconds next fall — if not the need to reassure critics of Bryant's sincerity — has already been reflected in the pledge to donate a portion of the profits to a foundation that treats adolescent mental health and substance abuse, factors that presumably played a role in the incident.

Nonetheless, much like how the initial attempts to refute reports that Bryant played no role in Sheppard's death were refuted online by cycling advocates, the memoir about the incident and surrounding media circus will no doubt be held to similar scrutiny.

Footage of the incident on YouTube won't hamper interest in Bryant's story, of course. Books remain the preferred storytelling format of any public figure who has come under fire — no doubt because a notorious name can command a healthy advance.

Gossiping about reading

I was interviewed by the Is Well Read blog. The concept behind Is Well Read is that every couple of weeks Jackie profiles different people talking about their reading habits, their obsessions, and their favourite books.

In my interview, we focus a fair bit on how working at the Librairie Drawn & Quarterly affects my reading and recommending books. I also admit that I only finish books I don't like if someone recommends them to me, and talk a little bit about how I go about recommending books to and for total strangers.

Here is the link:

And here is a little snippet to get you interested:
"My relationship with books changes so much over even short periods of time that I am hesitant to re-read much, because I worry that when I go back, it won’t hold the same emotional power as the first time I read it."

Bonus: You get to admire my nerdy cool Halloween costume!