A new local bookstore and Twilight Times Books, publisher of The Solomon Scandals, are teaming up to offer the e-book version for free, in major digital formats, for customers who buy the paperback from the store (price: $16.95). The bundling deal will be limited to the first eight buyers.
re∙reads Books is south of Alexandria, Virginia, the author’s hometown, and many customers come from Ft. Belvoir, a former location of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which still has an R&D facility and other activities on near-by Telegraph Road. The store’s telephone number is 703-360-3041, the e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org, and the address is 8742 Cooper Rd, Alexandria, VA 22309.
re∙reads’s proximity to the Corps of Engineer is relevant. “If you’re a good engineer fed up with bureaucracy, civilian or military, as well as the jaded attitude that ‘insider’ journalists often show toward misfeasance and malfeasance,” says Beth Conway, the store’s owner, “then this is the book for you. It’s a media novel. In certain respects, big metropolitan newspapers can be like military organizations, with strict rules as well as rigid hierarchies.
“While investigating a crooked government contractor with shoddy construction practices, the reporter in Scandals plays by the rules for the most part. And that’s exactly why Jon Stone gets in trouble.
”This isn’t to say that everything about government and the media is corrupt. In fact, Jon’s biggest ally is a young bureaucrat with a ‘tude of her own toward sleaze.”
Scandals offers suspense, tragedy and satire and gives us a whole new look at the absurdities of politics, bureaucracy, journalism, business and Washington life. For residents of the area (Mt. Vernon, Ft. Hunt and near-by neighborhoods), the plot is close to home, by way of a rickety building in the fictitious county of Roxland, a mix of Fairfax County and surrounding jurisdictions—as well as a loving reinvention of some actual Fairfax zoning scandals. “Vulture’s Point,” Chapter 15 begins in describing the building’s location, ”juts into the Potomac near one of the smellier sewage treatment plants in Roxland County. George Washington himself named the land—normally he was more sensitive to property values.” In real life, The Solomon Scandals‘s author grew up in the Tauxemont and Wellington Estates neighborhoods south of Alexandria and lives today in the city’s Seminary Hills neighborhood.
Reviewer Ted Scheinman at The Washington City Paper, a Yale classics and English graduate now working on his Ph.D. in literature at the University of North Carolina, praised Scandals for “the same dark zeal Hammett held for Frisco or Chandler had for Los Angeles.” James Fallows, author of Breaking the News, has described Scandals as a “mordantly entertaining book that broadens the cast of the standard Washington novel beyond spymasters and politicians to include real estate barons and federal contract officers.” Ray Arco, a veteran Gold Globes/HFPA judge, calls Scandals “outrageous and unique” and is talking it up as a movie.
“As a book-lover, not just author of Scandals,” says David Rothman, “I’m really rooting for the bundling experiment to succeed. One of the big challenges for physical bookstores of all sizes is how to survive the e-book revolution. In this case Twilight Times is letting people buy the paper book from a tiny neighborhood bookstore to enjoy at home—while also benefitting from a bundled edition they can read digitally at home or on the go. Beth is charging no more than she would for the paper book alone.”
Here’s more information on the deal and re∙reads:
1. The book is $16.95 plus Virginia sales tax if you’re buying in person.
2. The digital version has a different cover (left). Which version do you favor, and why? Feedback welcome through the comment form,
3. If you’re a domestic customer buying online, you’ll also pay shipping charges. re∙reads accepts Visa, MasterCard and PayPal. You can choose between normal (Media Mail), Priority and Express.
4. International customers purchasing online should call the store at 703-360-3041. For shipping rates and information, you must place your order over the phone.
5. Supply Beth with your phone number, the most useful email address and your physical address. (This information will be taken automatically if you’re ordering online.) She and Twilight Times will not share the information with anyone else. Name the format you prefer. By the way, Twilight Times publisher Lida Quillen loathes DRM and wants you to be able to own Scandals for real as both an e-book and physical book.
6. Allow a day or two for Beth to process the physical order and Twilight Time Books to handle the electronic one. If Beth is out of copies, she can quickly obtain more from Twilight Times.
7. Beth, Lida and David will be grateful if you treat the bundled e-book/p-book combo as one copy. Please don’t post it online.
Existing customers of re∙reads may be interested to know that the store will be carrying more new books than originally planned, the reason it has changed the name from “reReads Used Books.”