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Summary:

Jonah Lehrer’s publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, is running digital ads telling booksellers to send back copies of “Imagine.” After it was discovered that Lehrer had fabricated Bob Dylan quotes, HMH stopped shipping physical copies of the book and the ebook is no longer for sale.

Imagine Jonah Lehrer

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is running digital ads telling booksellers to send back copies of Jonah Lehrer’s Imagine for a full refund.

Earlier this week, Tablet magazine’s Michael Moynihan reported that Lehrer had fabricated Bob Dylan quotes in the bestselling Imagine. It had previously been discovered that Lehrer was reusing his own material in New Yorker blog posts. Lehrer resigned from his position as a staff writer at the New Yorker. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has stopped shipping physical copies of Imagine and the ebook is no longer for sale.

To the right is the ad that appeared this morning in Shelf Awareness, an email newsletter aimed at booksellers. (Note: The image may not appear in this post if your ad blocker is on.) Publishers Marketplace reporter Sarah Weinman pointed out the ad on Twitter.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt had no comment on whether it is running the ads elsewhere.

Updated 8/6/12: HMH is also offering refunds to readers who purchased a print copy of the book, but notes “consumers must submit requests to the retailer from which the e-book was originally purchased.” Here’s how to do that:

Amazon Kindle: Contact customer service if you are outside the normal 7-day window for ebook returns.

Barnes & Noble Nook: Call 1-800-The-BOOK or visit in-store customer service.

Kobo: Contact Kobo customer service.

 

 

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  1. “Full credit” typically means the net cost of whatever the retailer or wholesaler was invoiced. The fact that they’re covering the freight back is huge…but if an entity is showing weekly sales at a particular level they’re unlikely to give up the margin available to them through August.

  2. I’m sure glad that Facebook has never lied.
    My God how would we return that? and to whom?

    And the millions of books in libraries and bookstores all over the world, that haven’t been scrutinized, should be, right? Let’s start the movement today!

    I think Dylan, who personally has never lied or plagerized anyone, on record or otherwise, should publicly WHIP Lehrer in Times Square, all while with “The Times They Are A Changing” blasting out if the speakers! Sell tickets, and it should be streamed live on the Internet and broadcast on NBC, and NPR for all the World to see and hear.

    And the millions of journalists and writers globally…who have slipped through the cracks, should be rousted up.

    Maybe we could have a book burning or recycling rally on the steps of the Library of Congress in protest of all books out there on book shelves that have lies included in them.. This time we have John Lennon singing “Imagine” playing.

    Lehrer could be banished to Catalina or Rhode Island for the rest of his days and have all his pencils broken in two, all the sharpeners removed from the premises…

    1. Ha! I agree. I would love to hear Bob Dylan’s thoughts– I am guessing he does not care at all. Probably thought, “Sounds like something I would have said.”

  3. Michael Davidson Friday, August 3, 2012

    fyi- Currently the iTunes Store is saying tough luck, all sales are final.

  4. I own a hardcopy and work at a bookstore. I don’t care about the Dylan business (I love Dylan but that’s not why I bought the book!)… it’s Lehrer’s Imagine content I’m interested in… so I’ll keep mine, thank you very much!

  5. fyi – Amazon said, “Usually we only consider returns of Kindle content within seven days of purchase. Because of the circumstances, I’ll make an exception and help you with the return.” That’s from the email response I just got inquiring about this – there’s no mention of it on their site and there’s no way to self-serve a return after seven days.

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