UPDATE: Read Deseret Book’s account of the Doubleday deal. Here’s a quote from DB head Sheri Dew: “Sheri is quick to add her feelings, ‘The Lord does not need Doubleday, nor does the Church. But I believe there are people who will pick the Book of Mormon off the shelf because it says ‘Doubleday’ on the spine. There are some who will take it seriously because it is now appearing as serious religious literature, published by a national trade book company.'”
ALSO: Kim Siever likes the cover design as well. And so does Justin Butterfield over at Mormon Wasp (added 7.12.04).
I was pleased to see that I wasn’t the only one amused by Doubleday’s plans to publish a trade edition of the Book of Mormon. Doubleday also published Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven. Although the book focuses on the Lafferty brothers, excommunicated Mormon polygamists, some LDS readers felt that book attempted to cast a shadow over the institutional church as well, suggesting that Mormons as a whole might be more prone to violence than the average America. Doubleday is also the home of The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown, whose next book will take on Masonry in the United States, including, most likely, references to Joseph Smith and Mormonism [sorry I can’t remember and find my source for this which I ran across pre-blog so didn’t think to document].
To be fair, Doubleday does have a religious books imprint so it seems like a natural fit. And now all those academics who are curious about the Book of Mormon or (gasp!) even want to use it in their scholarship or teaching now can buy a title unsullied by all those footnotes/references that signal its ties to and status as scripture. In fact, I predict that the Doubleday edition will even catch on with the Mormon intellectual crowd — what better way to display that you’ve broken away from the institutional church but still maintain your status as a cultural Mormon than to carry the Doubleday edition around? That said — I kind of dig the cover (click on the hi-res version).
The one thing unsaid in all of this is: who gets a cut of the sales? Not that I have any problem with the Church taking a percentage. Or even Deseret Book for that matter.
Sources: Dave at LDS Review and Julie in Austin at Times & Seasons. Note that the discussion at Times & Seasons on the Doubleday announcement is mixed in with a discussion about the Church’s recent statement on a constitutional amendment on marriage so if you want to avoid getting dragged into the SSM debate, do a “find on page” for “Doubleday” and just read those posts.