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May 02, 2006

How "Opal Mehta" Got Published, Got Withdrawn, and Got Expensive

There has been a recent brouhaha over Kaavya Viswanathan's novel How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life. After allegations of plagiarism, the publisher recently permanently withdrew the book (as opposed to printing a revised edition without the offending passages).

So how is this playing out in the Wild Web? Since the book is no longer in print, copies are being bid up on eBay, with 76 listings right now. The book was selling in the $10 range early last week, with just a few bids. Then around Thursday the 27th the listings started to mention the controversy, and discuss how the book could be reissued with changes so the original version would be worth more, and sales were in the $30-$40 range. Then by Friday the listings mentioned that it was being pulled, copies were being listed with "Buy It Now" for prices up to $65, and they were all being sold quickly. This week things have settled back down to the $30-$40 range.

Meanwhile on Amazon, a check of the listing page shows that they are no longer selling the book directly, but some of their associates are (10 copies right now, with new copies ranging from $16.54 to $123 (!)). In addition, the sales rank is currently #17 and climbing. How is that possible when they aren't even selling the book? Very strange.

Posted by AdamBa at May 2, 2006 09:16 PM

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