September 9, 2016

When the book van goes missing…


Staffers at the University of Georgia Press were plunged into bureaucratic farce last Friday when the van full of books they’d brought to set up for the Decatur Book Festival suddenly went missing.

The case of the missing van, which was chronicled on the Press’s Twitter account, and even picked up by the Atlanta media, dragged on through Tuesday, leaving the press book-less for the entire festival and fearing that their vehicle laden with precious stock had been stolen.

As the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports, it turns out that van was safely in the hands of a local towing company, who, due to a “clerical error,” told Press staffers that they had not towed the van from the lot where it was (legally) parked, even though they in fact had. It took a report on Fox5 News Atlanta on Monday to prompt an unspecified individual to contact the police about the location of the van on Tuesday morning.

The whole saga, unfolding over the weekend on Twitter, must have elicited the sympathy of anyone who knows the work, and financial investment, it takes to have a presence at book festivals. The Press has written up an overview of the ordeal, complete with a timeline of events, on their site, which helps, but doesn’t totally clear up the whole slew of mishaps that must have occurred on the part of the parking services personnel and the towing company.

It might even be amusing if it weren’t such a blow to the indie publisher — but that didn’t stop the editorial director of Johns Hopkins University Press from declaring it the “Best University Press story of the week.”      



Kait Howard was a publicist at Melville House.