Publishing The Book With No Name

A forthcoming HarperCollins book is a real whodunit--but not because it belongs on the mystery shelf. The publishing house is shopping a new title to booksellers--with a 300,000 initial press run--but the company's not saying who wrote it, what it will be called or even what it's about. It's saying only that the 320-page nonfiction work, to be released Sept. 12 by imprint William Morrow, is a "must-read tell-all" that will get "major national media attention"--and that it's not by a Bush administration official. (Insiders suspect it's about a celeb, says Rachel Deahl, Publishers Weekly news editor.)

The marketing ploy seems to be working. Barnes & Noble is buying the title for all its U.S. stores--and other booksellers are following suit. But not everyone is. "I just got really annoyed about blind ordering," says Ann Christophersen, co-owner of Women & Children First bookstore in Chicago, who decided against placing an order. "I didn't like feeling manipulated." >