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My wife hates blurbs. You know those quotes on the back of a book jacket from somebody (usually another author) saying how good it is. She says, "Couldn't you just tell me what the book is about?" The sentiment is familiar to regular readers of publisher’s lunch, where it is expressed by people in the business as well.

Terry Teachout has some fascinating stories about blurbs here. They tend to confirm the notion that blurbs are not effective ways to understand what the book is about. But I love the insight of his editor who said blurbs are not for us readers -- they're an internal marketing gimmick.

I was fortunate enough to read an advance copy of Mark Spragg's wonderful novel An Unfinished Life. On the back cover it had a personal letter from the book’s editor, Gary Fisketjon, talking at length about why he loved it. "This is great!" my wife and I said. "Every book should have something like this!" But for official publication it was replaced by blurbs.

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