YouTube: https://youtube.com/watch?v=pZfPfv5Yp2U
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Uploaded:2013-05-31
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Note: I dropped a couple of F-Bombs here.

The American Booksellers Association awarded me the Indie Champion Award for 2013. I could not attend because Sarah is due to have a baby quite soon. So I made this video. (A bit of background: Ann Patchett gave a fantastic speech the year before in which she recited Shakespeare's famed St. Crispen's Day Speech from Henry V.)
"What's he that wishes so? / My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin: / If we are mark'd to die..." [Shakespeare, Henry V, 4.3.20-22] Ah, I can't do it. God, remember last year, when Ann Patchett got up here and just killed it? Yes, I am going to be very disappointing by contrast.

First, by not actually being present. Hi again, my wife is still due to have a baby tomorrow; I am still coming to you from the past. I again wish to congratulate my fellow nominees Tom Angleberger, Geraldine Brooks, Jonathan Evison, and Terry Tempest Williams, he said notably leaving out his long-time nemesis Jon Scieszka. I’m just kidding Scieszka (no I’m not).

Okay, so heads up. I’m going to curse, so if there are any kids in the room, you’re going to want to put earmuffs.

So I am sometimes held up as an example of someone who is, like, changing the publishing paradigm or whatever because I have a lot of Tumblr followers and YouTube subscribers, and I can speak directly to my audience, and I don’t need the value-sucking middlemen of bookstores and publishers. And in the future, everyone’s going to be like me, and no one will stand between author and reader except possibly an e-commerce site that takes just a tiny little percentage of each transaction.

Yeah, that’s bullshit. I wouldn’t have any books to my name without the tireless and committed collaboration not only of my editor Julie Strauss-Gabel, my agent Jodi Reamer, my friends, my family, everyone at Penguin, but also the collaboration of thousands of other people – copy editors, warehouse employees, programmers, people who know how to make servers work, librarians, and booksellers.

We must strike down the insidious lie that the book is a creation of an individual soul laboring in isolation. We must strike it down because it threatens the overall quality and breadth of American literature. They hold me up as an example, but I am not an example of publishers or bookstores extracting value, because without my editor, my first novel, Looking for Alaska, would have been unreadably self-indulgent.

And even after she helped me make it better, it wouldn’t have found its audience without unflagging support, now more than eight years on, from booksellers around the country. I wouldn’t have the YouTube subscribers or the Tumblr followers, and even if I did, I wouldn’t have any good books to share with them.

We need editors and we need publishers and we need booksellers. I am not in the widget-selling business. I am not in the profit-maximization business. I’m in the book business - the idea-sharing, consciousness expanding, storytelling business, and I am not going to get out of that business.

So fuck Ayn Rand and fuck any company that profits from pedaling the lie of mere individualism. We built this together, and we’re going to keep building it together. Thank you.