Written by dalepetrie
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Topics: Books, bankruptcy

Wednesday, 11 February 2004

image for "Complete Idiots Guide" Publishers File Bankruptcy
Alpha...taking a page from its own book.

Alpha Books, publishers of the best-selling line of "Complete Idiots Guide" how to books, has announced that lagging sales have forced them to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today. In an official press release, Alpha cited lagging sales, difficult marketing conditions, and a lack of new titles for the "Idiots" books as a primary source of their financial problems.

When asked for further explanation, Alpha spokesperson William Donovan said, "In terms of why we filed bankruptcy, we had been chugging along fairly well, usually by the time sales of one book dried up, we had another ready to take it's place on the bestseller list, but quite frankly, after the disastrous PR fiasco surrounding the publication of ‘The Complete Idiots Guide to Autoerotic Asphyxiation', we realized we had finally run out of topics which we could explain in terms that a three year old could understand. Once our final offering, ‘The Complete Idiots Guide to Home Dentistry' left the top 40 charts, we had nothing left to publish, and with no money left and no expectations of any residual income from our previous titles, we decided that a restructuring was in order. Because of this, Alpha has opted to hold creditors at bay via the bankruptcy protection, and to emerge some time next year publishing picture books of celebrity nipple slips. We think what happened with Janet Jackson just proves what an immense market there is for pictures of naked celebrities, and since there are always new celebrities falling out of their dresses, we don't anticipate any weakness in either the supply or demand in this market in the near future."

When asked to explain why they expected no residual income from the previously published "Idiots Guide" books, Donovan noted that when individual titles in the "Idiots Guide" series of books were published, they would become immediate bestsellers, then after a few weeks, would fall off the bestseller list, which is a typical scenario for many books. However, the books would then encounter a phenomenon unique only to the "Idiots Guide" line of books. Donovan explains, "Let's say the book enters the charts, ascends quickly, then descends until it is off the top 40 lists. Many books with this track record would then spend some time in the 40 to 50 spot, or would at least take a few weeks to leave the top 100 charts altogether. With "Idiots Guides", we would see a much sharper decline in sales…once the book was off the top 40 charts, it was gone off even the top 1000 list for good. In fact, it was not an uncommon occurrence for a book to have the #40 spot one week, and fail to ever again sell another copy."

Donovan did not have any explanation to offer as to why the "Idiots Guide" books would experience this strange and unique drop off in sales, other than to cite the company's official press release regarding ‘difficult marketing conditions'. To determine what these difficult conditions may be, we've done a bit of research, talked to a few anonymous sources, and determined what may lie at the heart of this issue. The problem seems to be the difficulty complete idiots were experiencing in seeking out "Complete Idiots Guide" titles.

One source explained, "A book would come out, and be an immediate bestseller, and all the complete idiots would want it. They'd go to their bookstores, and bam, the book would be featured right in the window or on a well-marked shelf near the front of the store. But what happens when this book leaves it's featured spot and is shelved along with the other titles? Think about it from the perspective of a complete idiot. Let's say you're looking for "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Golf", you go into a bookstore, and the book isn't in the front of the store, and there are a lot of books, so where do you look? First if you're like most complete idiots, you look under I for idiot, C for complete, and stretching it, you might even look under M for moron, N for nimrod, D for dolt, S for stupid, and in some cases with the really idiotic, they'll even try E for imbecile. Sometimes in less organized bookstores an idiot might luck out by looking under G for guide or golf, but in most bookstores, these books would be shelved with sports or recreation books, and what complete idiot's even going to think of that?

"These idiots maybe come into the store wanting to know about 3 or 4 topics, and just expect to find all the "Idiots Guide" books shelved together in an easy to locate area, so they ask to be pointed to the idiot's section. It doesn't help matters when a smart-ass cashier at Waldenbooks says that the idiot's section would be located across the mall corridor in the B. Dalton, he may be making a joke, but 99 out of 100 idiots will believe him and leave the store immediately, only to be directed by their smart-ass clerk to a Border's across town, which in turn sends them to Barnes and Noble, which leads them back to Waldenbooks. After visiting each store 9 or 10 times, most idiots will give up and borrow the book from the library where they can actually get a person to find it for them. Some idiots have learned to use the internet and could do their book shopping online where they could possibly find these titles by searching on the word idiot, but usually idiots new to the internet are ripped off by the Nigerian Bank Transfer email early on, and end up not trusting the safety of internet shopping enough to complete the purchase. So they end up in the bricks and mortar store, only to have their idiocy exploited for the amusement of bored seventeen year olds."

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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