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Dave Eggers at BookPeople by Crack Books

Okay, seriously: What’s up with you Austinites and your wristbands? Apparently Dave Eggers, founder of McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, is going to be in town doing a reading at local book-fave BookPeople on Wednesday, March 3, and only those with wristbands are allowed to join the book-signing line. To get a wristband, you must have purchased a copy of either The Wild Things or Zeitoun (his two latest releases) from BookPeople. Seems like a bit of a scam to me, but I guess Eggers is such a big deal that he simply cannot be bothered to sign any of that old rubbish he wrote, back in the day, like a humble little ol’ thing that launched his career called A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.

Dave Eggers at the 2007 Brooklyn Book Festival (photo by David Shankbone, via Wikimedia)

The other reason I think this wristband-for-book-signing-privileges thing is kind of crappy? “Kicking off the event today will be Austin resident (and former BookPerson) Bill Cotter reading from his recently published McSweeney’s book Fever Chart.” Granted, I’d never heard of Bill Cotter until I read this sentence, from the BookPeople blog announcing the event, but shouldn’t this poor dude get a shot at having some books of his own signed? I mean, where’s the requirement that people need to have bought HIS book, in advance, to get a shot at having the big man sign? It’s not very egalitarian, is what I’m saying. Sure, everybody knows Eggers is this Literary Celebrity who requires the special Celebrity Treatment (i.e. picking out all the green M&Ms and only allowing Fiji water in his pre-reading dressing room and all manner of attendant nonsense), but would it kill ya to push a local, currently rather unknown author’s work equally hard? It just seems like the right thing to do, coming from a local bookstore that likes to trumpet its support for Austin-based authors.

So people, if you’re going to the Dave Eggers signing, grab a copy of Bill Cotter’s book too, and be nice enough to gush over it while you’re there, willya?

BookPeople is located at 603 N. Lamar Blvd, in Austin, Texas.


3 Comments so far
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1. Bill Cotter has already had an event for his book at BookPeople, where, like all BookPeople events, you had to have bought the book at the store in order to have it signed. This is just a bonus because he’s a friend of Eggers. By reading in front of Dave’s audience, he’ll probably sell a bunch of people on his (amazing) book.

2. As alluded to above, pretty much all signings at BP require that you buy a book at the store. His latest two are the ones he’s promoting and reading from and it’s pretty standard when an author has a large body of work to limit it in that way. If publishers can’t see book sales coming directly from tours, they stop sending authors on tours. That’s why it’s generally our policy. We do normally (and will in Dave’s case) allow people to get other things signed, as long as they’ve bought something (usually the new book by the author) at the store. It’s not cause Dave is a celebrity or demanding. He’s actually very gracious. At his last event at the store, he stayed for about two hours after the signing to talk to a handful of interested parties about his nonprofit work and how to get something like an 826 started in Austin.

3. We use wristbands when an event is large so that people can browse while they wait instead of just standing in line. It’s not really any different than our other events other than organizationally.

4. Like every event at the store, except for ones that require serious security, like Bill Clinton, it is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC to attend, see Dave, listen to him read, ask him questions, etc. The wristbands are for the signing line specially…. We’re simply asking that if you’re going to get something signed, you buy a book at the store. That’s to keep people from buying dozens of copies of Heartbreaking Work at Walmart, getting them signed at our store, and then selling them on ebay. Y’know?

Comment by Summer

Thanks for the info, Summer. I didn’t realize Cotter had already had a reading, so it’s actually nice to include him in this event as part of the McSweeney’s “team.” As for having to buy a book at the store, I’m not specifically against that; I was just a bit weirded out by the thought that you could only get those *specific* books signed at the event. If you allow people to get other stuff signed, that’s cool, as is the fact that the wristband’s only for the signing line; good to know that this isn’t for actual entry to the event, as I’m definitely interested in attending. :)

Comment by Laura Roberts

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