Call it enlightened self-interest. For the first time in its 119-year history, Publishers Weekly, the bible of the book business, won’t have a pricey ad (currently worth $30,000) on its cover. Instead, the trade mag that lists and reviews thousands of books each year is running an open letter to President Bush, exhorting him to read Savage Inequalities, an indictment of the American public-school system by poverty expert Jonathan Kozol.
Why all the particular attention for Savage Inequalities — which argues that the gap between rich and poor public schools has widened? Fred Ciporen, vice president and group publisher at Cahners, which puts out PW, says the publishing industry ”should press on education as an issue, as should any interest group,” adding, ”the staff felt really shook up by this book.” Cynics, however, note another factor that contributed to the decision: The scheduled cover ad fell through at the last moment. Rather than use a backup ad, Ciporen, with unanimous staff support, decided to go with the letter.