So about a year ago, Atria (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) struck a deal with the Ritz-Carlton hotel chain to provide a paperback collection of original short stories by its best-selling authors that Ritz-Carlton would give away copies for a month as part of its turndown service. Contributors would include Jodi Picoult, Susan Isaacs and John Connolly. Then the hotel brass read the collection in manuscript and decided to cancel, as the New York Times’ Joanne Kaufman reports. “They submitted the manuscript and we rejected it,” said Julia Gajcak, vice president for marketing and communications of Ritz-Carlton. “There were some language issues, and there was some racy content.”
Judith Curr, the publisher of Atria, acknowledged that bad things do happen in TURNDOWN TALES, which was originally scheduled for publication in early June. Some people die and others, perhaps, do not behave as well as they might. “But I’m not going to go back to Jodi Picoult and tell her, ‘This woman can’t leave her children for the weekend,” Curr said. “I’m keen on doing a collection to reach readers, but I’m not going to compromise my authors’ integrity to do so.” But in the end, compromise was reached between Atria and Ritz-Carlton. The collection will be available in hotels this fall with “some of the swearing toned down,” according to Curr.