Have you ever watched a movie trailer and noticed a trend where one-word praises like “FANTASTIC!” and “EXTRAORDINARY” boom out in large letters that take up the entire screen? And then you see that the citations of where these reviews come from are so tiny that you can’t even read them?
That’s because those reviews were cherry-picked from unknown reviewers, likely from tiny websites or message boards which only have a few readers a day. It’s a way of making a badly-reviewed film look like it was loved by the critics.
Well, the book publish industry isn’t above such trickery. The New York Times published an article about the art of quote doctoring.
For instance, a book reviewer might write something like “This book is pure drivel, with all the brilliance drained out of it.”
The publisher then uses the clever tool of ellipsis in a blurb or advertisement like so: “pure…brilliance!” Notice the addition of the exclamation mark, which was previously non-existent.
From the article:
It happened to the Time magazine book critic Lev Grossman last October. Grossman says he was Ã¢â‚¬Å“quite taken abackÃ¢â‚¬Â when he saw a full-page newspaper advertisement for Charles FrazierÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s novel Ã¢â‚¬Å“Thirteen MoonsÃ¢â‚¬Â that included a one-word quotation Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬Å“GeniusÃ¢â‚¬Â Ã¢â‚¬â€ attributed to Time. Grossman was confused because his review Ã¢â‚¬Å“certainly didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have that word.Ã¢â‚¬Â Eventually, he found it in a preview item he had written a few months earlier, which included the sentence Ã¢â‚¬Å“Frazier works on an epic scale, but his genius is in the details.Ã¢â‚¬Â As Grossman put it, Ã¢â‚¬Å“They plucked out the G-word.Ã¢â‚¬Â
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