J.J. Abrams' Mystery Book 'S.' Enrages Librarians

9:00 AM PST 11/07/2013 by Merle Ginsberg & Gary Baum
J.J. Abrams

The hardcover's elaborate production values — loose maps, postcards and other items — have caused consternation and canceled orders from libraries.

This story first appeared in the Nov. 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Director J.J. Abrams' elaborate story-within-a-story mystery S. (co-authored with Doug Dorst) is emerging as one of fall's hit books, making Amazon's top 10 list its first week on sale and winning over reviewers with elaborate production values -- it's chockablock with maps, postcards and marginalia, all stuffed into a well-wrought re-creation of an old library book.

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But one group unimpressed by the literary theater are librarians, who have been complaining to one another on message boards that the loose material is easy to misplace and reporting they have canceled orders -- 50 copies at Cleveland's Cuyahoga County libraries alone. Many are irked that an elaborate Hollywood-style marketing campaign, complete with stylized trailers and a strict embargo, left them clueless about the contents of the relatively pricey book.

Says Lesley Knieriem, a librarian in Rogers, Ark., who canceled her order, "I bought it sans review on the strength of the author name and online buzz, and boy am I sorry."

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