Making up quotes from say, one of the most admired, researched and beloved American music icons might’ve seemed like a good idea to New Yorker magazine staff writer Jonah Lehrer when he was writing his book Imagine: How Creativity Works, but those fabricated words are going to cost his publishers a pretty penny. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt said it’ll pull the book entirely from the market after Lehrer admitted to putting words in Bob Dylan’s mouth that he never said.
The book has already sold 200,000 copies since its debut in March, and now the company says it’s trying to figure out what to do next. Lehrer was busted by a reporter for Tablet Magazine who caught the fabrications and called him on it. After at first trying to give the reporter the runaround about where the quotes were from, Lehrer gave up and subsequently resigned from the New Yorker while apologizing to his readers.
“In light of the serious misuse of quotations admitted above, we are exploring all options available to us,” the publishing house said in a statement. “We are taking the e-book of ‘Imagine’ off-sale, and halting shipment of physical copies.”
Another spokeswoman told TheWrap.com that the e-book would be removed from all retail sites by the end of Monday.
No word yet on whether Houghton Miffling Harcourt will offer a refund to customers who already bought the book, but that could be what the “next step” is that it’s weighing in light of the situation.
Getting your money back would certainly not be out of bounds here (unless you want to hang on to it for laughs), so we hope Houghton decides a full refund for its readers is in order and have reached out to the company to see if that is a possibility.