After selling several books through their coffee shops, from Mitch Albom‘s For One More Day to Helene Cooper‘s The House at Sugar Beach, Starbucks has entered into a co-publishing arrangement, through its Starbucks Entertainment division, with Farrar Straus Giroux for Daren and Daniel Simkin‘s The Traveler, a 48-page picture book described as “a beguiling and tender fable about what really matters in life.” Here’s a plot synopsis:
“Once, there was a boy named Charlie. He had a pretty nice life… but it wasn’t perfect. So one day he packed up all his time—all his round, squishy years and square, mushy months, down to every itsy-bitsy second—in his suitcase and locked it up safe, said goodbye to his parents, and set off to find something better to spend his time on. Charlie traveled all over the world in search of the perfect thing to make him happy, but that turned out to be much harder to find than he thought. In the meantime, his itsybitsy seconds and silky, smooth hours and raggedy days ticked away and vanished, and soon they added up to weeks and months and years—so that once Charlie stopped his traveling and realized what he really needed out of life, it was almost too late. Almost.”
The brothers explain that more fully in an interview they did with their sister.
This all sort of makes one question the theory that there’s not going to be any room left in publishing for “talented young nobodies… [brought] out of obscurity,” doesn’t it? Granted, not total obscurity: We assume is the same Daren Simkin who was employed as Gore Vidal’s personal assistant a while back, given the prominent Vidal blurb in the catalog.