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David Corn Has Showdown in Barnes & Noble

20 March 2012

From Fishbowl DC:

MSNBC Contributor and Mother Jones’ Washington Bureau Chief David Corn apparently got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.

He was spotted in the Barnes & Noble at Union Station throwing a fit because his new book — his fifth — fitting called Showdown: The Inside Story of How Obama Fought Back Against Boehner, Cantor, and the Tea Party  out today didn’t have its own display. He was overheard yelling at the manager that “every paper in America” was going to be talking about his book today and yet nobody could find it there.

The manager explained that corporate tells him what books get displays and that the order did not call for that. Corn maintained that the bookstore wasn’t well run and stormed out in a huff.

Link to the rest at Fishbowl DC and thanks to Abel for the tip.


19 Comments to “David Corn Has Showdown in Barnes & Noble”

  1. Temper, temper.

  2. He probably had a private conversation with the manager about a misunderstanding with the front table coop (assumed from the update when the coop table was put up front). I doubt any nastiness was had.

    That’s because if he had raised his voice or thrown a temper tantrum, the article would have said he pulled a gun and robbed the store. You gotta exaggerate these things, or they aren’t interesting.

  3. No surprise coming from a political talking head.


  4. Unhinged, one might say.

  5. David Corn’s brilliant. I’d cut him some slack. It’s hard to say if the story is completely accurate. And, since a lot of his reporting is about corporations, I could see where being told that “corporate” tells the worker what to do might be slightly irritating (if indeed that’s what the worker actually said).

    • If Corporate had ordered every store to place his book, cover out, just inside the front door, I suspect he would have held his nose and tolerated this instance of faceless corporate behavior.

  6. “Manager was awesome. Totally calm. Looked up the order for him to confirm no display. Actually, he acted as if he gets a bunch of jerks coming in there with similar demands. Washington!” Right. I think if the “spy” wanted to be at least somewhat convincing, he should have modified this bit. “The manager was visibly flustered but kept his cool” might have convinced some people who weren’t completely gullible. 90% bovine material, IMHO.

  7. Never heard of this guy or his book. Sounds like a publicity stunt, either in the store or manufactured in the reporting, to try to generate sales.

    • Things like that only make the paper if the person is famous. It’s something authors routinely have to do with major bookstores and hardly newsworthy on it’s own.

      As it happens, Corn is famous to people who follow politics, and certainly in Washington. Wouldn’t be publicity for him, but for the reporter? Yeah, the tabloid-y reporting makes it sound like something a source played up to get attention.

  8. Corn denies there was shouting — and his book is now on display:


  9. Sigh. 2 secs on Amazon, ebook delivered 15 secs later.

  10. Maybe he should have bought some scented candles and made some room.

  11. I have an entirely different take and it concerns the stupidity of the bookstore. Obviously managers cannot think for themselves. If ‘corporate’ didn’t give the order or if the order got lost, the manager didn’t think to himself–hmmm. This is Washington DC. A lot of people are interested in politics. This book is going to be talked about. Let’s put it on the front table. But no. The order didn’t come down from ‘corporate’. Aside note–even when the publishing company promises you bookstore coop, half the bookstores don’t follow.

    • Elizabeth, they aren’t allowed to think. My sister worked in a Waldenbooks way back when. She created a local interest area that was selling like hot cakes – until corporate arrived and told the store it must conform to the corporate floor plan. The local interest section was gone, regardless of how many sales! That really had us scratching our heads.

  12. Good on him !! That’s the way to fight for space !

  13. Sounds like typical political tripe anyway. It’ll be in remainders in three months.

  14. Lyle Blake Smythers

    Alice is right. When I worked at a Barnes & Noble (here in the Washington, D.C., area), we received extremely detailed orders on what displays went up, where they went in the store, what titles were included, and the date they had to be up, and we were shipped the appropriate signs for them. There was a district manager or some-such (don’t remember his exact title) whose job was to drive around to all the different B&N stores in his area and check to make sure they had the displays up on time.

    In my store, we were allowed to fill in gaps in a display with some other title that fit the theme, but only if we had sold out the title called for by corporate. There simply wasn’t room to promote something you thought was a good book. Store managers LOSE THEIR JOBS doing that.

    BTW, I work on Capitol Hill and have never heard of this Corn person. But then politics and the like bore me.

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