Dawn DeVries Sokol


Book Scandals

I love books.

Yes, I work in the publishing industry, but I'm not required to say that. I've always loved books. I was such a bookworm growing up, reading all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, E.B. White, Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary and many others. As Meg Ryan's character says in "You've Got Mail", "a book becomes a part of your life in a way that nothing else can". It truly does. Which is why I'm so glad to be part of the industry.

The current rash of plagiarism going on in the industry doesn't thrill me, though. Recently, Kaavya Viswanathan's lack of regard for honesty and honor brought the industry down a notch. James Fry hurt considerably as well. What is it with these authors? Do they really think that being deceitful is a GOOD thing? Growing up, I was taught plagiarism was not to be tolerated. Sad thing is, if you go on Amazon, you will see an alarming—small but alarming—trend of younger reviewers of the book who think it's OK to steal from others. And that's what plagiarism is—stealing.

At least Little, Brown had the good sense to take the book off the shelves and not republish with "original" passages. And withdraw the book deal. (I do wonder if Viswanathan will have to give her $ back.) But my question: who said it was a good idea to cut a high school student a book deal worth half a mil? And let's not also forget: research is a very good thing. Where are the researchers, the fact checkers, the people who should be looking into the credibility of these authors? Now every publisher should be on alert. The industry must change. For the better.

It is sad that it's come to that. But I guess that, unfortunately, is the world we now live in.

Dawn SokolComment