Cavear Lector

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The implicit theme of the revelations about the fakery of authors J.T. LeRoy and James Frey is that publishers are easily deceived by stories they think will sell, as indeed they did. Though news, this is scarcely new. Doesn’t anyone remember Clifford Irving, who sold McGraw-Hill “The Autobiography of Howard Hughes” a few decades ago? That time, it was Hughes himself who revealed Irving as a hoaxer before the book was officially published. (Later another house published the book as a sort of fascinating fiction, as indeed it is.) The truth is that, since bookselling is, fortunately, an unregulated industry, those purchasing books, especially those recently published, should always remember caveat emptor – buyer beware.

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