Kiana Davenport’s View of Her Problems with Penguin

I emailed yesterday’s post to Kiana Davenport because I thought she might want to know about it. She was kind enough to email back, and gave me permission to share her response, which is reproduced in its entirety below:

Dear Jeffrey Mehalic, thanks so much for your interest and support. Your readers ask if I breached my contract in any way, but it is answered there in the Bits Blog, Legal documents prove I fulfilled all obligations. Neither my attorneys nor I can understand what motivated Penguin to terminate me, other than sheer terror of Amazon, and the usual despotism of mega-corporations.

The Times article was not so much about me as about the decline of the print publishing industry, and the onslaught of the digital age. I happened to get caught in the cracks of this massive, tectonic shift. Still, I shall mourn the passing of print books and bookstores as we knew them.

Thank you again for your interest, and I wish you all the success in the world. PS…My mother was full-blooded Hawaiian but my father was from Talladega, Alabama. So I have cousins in Texas, Va., W. Va, and Alabama. You have my permission to reprint this email. Kiana Davenport

If anyone from or on behalf of Penguin wants to comment or explain its side of the story, I’m happy to publish whatever I receive.

In the meantime, however, this incident reflects very poorly on Penguin (and, unfortunately, on traditional publishers as a whole). How Penguin reacted to Davenport self-publishing some short stories had nothing to do with any breach of her contract, and has everything to do with its fear of Amazon and other publishing platforms that will make traditional publishers increasingly irrelevant unless they adapt very quickly.

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