July 13, 2015

Walmart in Louisiana puts Go Set a Watchman on sale early



UPDATE 5:19 PM: We just heard from a Harper spokesperson, who informed us that the Walmart display was taken down. The full statement: “We can confirm that the display was taken down immediately after we
became aware of it and reported it to the store.”

Stephanie Wilkes, a Young Adult Coordinator at Ouachita Parish Public Library in Monroe, Louisiana saw a display of copies of Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee on sale at the Walmart in West Monroe, Louisiana on Friday night. “Spotted,” she posted online in a librarian group. “And it makes me mad. The manager shrugged and asked me what I was gonna do about it.”

The strictly embargoed book isn’t supposed to go on sale until July 14, and, according to Wall Street Journal article, there’s supposed to be strict security in place, as there is at Barnes & Noble:

“We’ve got our best security operations on this book,” said Mary Amicucci, vice president of adult trade and children’s books for Barnes & Noble. “It’s very similar to the size and scope of ‘Harry Potter.’ ” Last week, copies of “Go Set a Watchman” arrived at Barnes & Noble’s distribution centers in Monroe Township, N.J., and Reno, Nev. They were stored in secure areas monitored by closed-circuit television before moving by truck to bookstores across the country, where they would be kept in monitored areas, under lock and key or shrink-wrapped, Ms. Amicucci said.

After seeing the post by Stephanie Wilkes on Facebook, librarians alerted Brian Grogan, Senior Vice President of Adult Sales at the book’s publisher, Harper Collins, and Grogan contacted the West Monroe Louisiana Walmart to ask that the display be taken down.

There’s no word yet on whether it has been … which would be an answer to the long-standing, industry-wide question: Do embargoes have any teeth at all?





Claire Kelley is the Director of Library and Academic Marketing at Melville House.