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Don’t call it a parenting book!

December 21, 2007

Thomas Nelson recently issued a press release saying that they are standing by Lynne Spears, her book is postponed not cancelled, and, most tellingly, emphasizing that her book is not a parenting book, but a memoir and “a warning”.  Here’s the description from Amazon:

Lynne Spears was an ordinary mother whose life became extraordinary when the success of her daughter Britney pushed the Spears family onto the worldwide stage. Now, speaking out for the first time in her new memoir, Lynne sets the record straight. In Pop Culture Mom, she reveals a rarely glimpsed view of herself and her family-including celebrity daughters Britney and Jamie Lynn, son Bryan, and ex-husband Jamie. Candid, touching, and richly detailed, the stories Lynne shares reveal the heart of a mother who struggles to keep faith at the center of her life through its many unexpected twists and serendipitous turns.

Ah ha.  To the credit of the publisher, no where in the categories for the book on Amazon does it say “Parenting”.  With that, I do believe their true intention was to release it as a memoir, and that the media probably thought the idea of Mamma Spears doing a parenting book was too good to be true and gilded the lily a bit.  As an aside, I’ve seen first hand what happens when books get miscategorized.  Sometimes, it’s the fault of the publisher – who had the bright idea to put the very funny new fiction title oPtion$ in humor, next to the “Cathy” and “Garfield” compendiums?  Other times, it’s a miscommunication between the booksellers and the publishers that cause a book to go in the wrong place.  We’ve had tech books that we swear should sit in tech placed in business and die.  Or can anyone tell me how the books on the “Photography” shelf are that different than the ones sitting at “Digital Photography”?  Not too many people using film these days…but I digress.  In this case, it’s the media doing it, which makes it more interesting.

Thomas Nelson implies that the story is still being told, and to not include these most current events would be doing the book an injustice wouldn’t help sales one bit.  Still, memoir or not, I don’t see anything that woman could possibly say adding value to my life.  Other than a compendium of worst practices and yet another vehicle to milk the Spears gravy train, this book seems destined for the remainder bin.  Thomas Nelson CEO Michael Hyatt hasn’t blogged about this yet, but I hope he will.  I’ve always respected his point of view and think he could add some good insights into this situation. 

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