September 9, 2014
French booksellers refuse to sell Valérie Trierweiler’s memoir
by Nick Davies
Valérie Trierweiler has made headlines recently with the publication of her tell-all memoir about her relationship and very public breakup with French President François Hollande, Merci pour ce moment (Thank You for This Moment). The pair split up this January, when the British tabloid Closer revealed Hollande’s affair with actress Julie Gayet.
Trierweiler, a journalist and writer for Paris Match, spent months writing her book in secrecy, and it’s now topping bestseller lists in France — but some shops are refusing to stock it. Andrew Marszal and David Chazan report for the Telegraph that certain bookstores are not selling the book out of distaste for the scandal, with signs in the window informing would-be shoppers, “This bookshop isn’t planning on becoming an outlet for Ms Trierweiler’s dirty laundry.”
The Telegraph piece includes several photos from the Twitter account of Jean Birbaum, editor of Le Monde’s literary supplement, who describes the phenomenon as a booksellers’ revolt:
Elle se répand comme une traînée de poudre, la révolte des libraires qui disent “non merci”… pic.twitter.com/wsoRgxpe9X
— Jean Birnbaum (@JeanBirnbaum) September 6, 2014
It’s not totally clear if all of the bookstores featured in those photos are refusing to sell the memoir; two of them are, but one of the signs reads, “Nous n’avons plus le livre de Valérie Trierweiler,” or “We don’t have any more of the Valérie Trierweiler book,” which might be a symptom of simply running out of copies — not surprising, as Marszal and Chazan report that all 200,000 copies in the first printing have sold out. That sign also takes advantage of putting Trierweiler’s name in large print to attract people walking by, only to pull the bait-and-switch and encouraging them to come inside to buy more highbrow fare by Honoré de Balzac, Alexandre Dumas, and Guy de Maupassant.
Gérard Collard, a bookseller outside Paris, tells the Telegraph that Merci pour ce moment as “a huge success of the kind you only see once a decade,” one that he expects to sell half a million copies…even with some bookstores abstaining.
Nick Davies was a publicist at Melville House.