We do ourselves the honor to hope our readers may recall a story posted here this past August: Bookstore chain puts the screws on small publishers. It featured a spirited exchange of correspondence between a bookstore-chain executive and an editor at a small but well-regarded publishing house:
A&R Whitcoulls Group, a.k.a. the Angus & Robertson bookstore chain, is Australia’s largest bookseller, with 180 bookstores and about 20% of the retail market. A&R’s owners, an outfit called Pacific Equity Partners, are thinking of taking it public.I contributed my own analysis of their letters. The entry gave rise to a lively discussion in the comment thread, which eventually petered out in normal fashion. Then, more than a month after I posted my entry, a fellow named Chris Oliver turned up in the comment thread, bent on defending A&R Whitcoulls Group in general and Charlie Rimmer in particular. He has since spawned sockpuppets Amanda Blair and Despina, who not only post from the same Australian ISP as “Chris Oliver” and appear to all have the same information in their heads, but are privy to interesting bits of insider information like the real reason Rimmer sent his original letter to Tower Books.
This may or may not have been why A&R’s commercial manager, Charlie Rimmer, sent a startlingly arrogant letter to Australia’s smaller publishers and distributors, demanding a substantial payment from each by August 17 (reportedly ranging from AU$2,500 to AU$20,000) if they want A&R to keep selling their books. Among the recipients was Michael Rakusin of Tower Books …
This is Internet 101. Say you’ve criticized a piece of writing. When someone you’ve never seen before shows up (1.) claiming to be a disinterested bystander, (2.) who interprets the critique as a personal attack on the author, and (3.) just wants to defend the author and the piece of writing on grounds of simple justice, and (4.) cannot shake loose of the argument, but must instead stick around to argue every point as long as points are being made … that person is always the author. Award extra points if they raise up sockpuppets to assist in the defense. Double the points if they re-post the original text in its uncritiqued form.I can’t promise that the sequel has quite the zing of the original, but if you want to see the mind of Charlie Rimmer laid out in more detail for your perusal, go to comment 193 and read forward from there.
Message #320 was the one that convinced me. If that weren’t enough, the fact that he has neither denied his sockpuppetry nor objected to being referred to as “Charlie Rimmer” would have done it.