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What, Exactly, Qualifies Haunted As New Fiction?

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I was fighting the crowds in a Barnes and Noble the other day, pushing aside old ladies buying kitty calendars for their grandkids and moms piling up those Klutz children’s books that drove me bananas when I worked at a bookstore. I turned the corner and noticed something very odd. Chuck Palahniuk’s Haunted was piled up on the New Fiction shelf. I realize the mega-chains aren’t always the swiftest on the uptake, but this book was released on May 3, 2005, almost seven months ago. That’s what they consider “new” these days?

Movies are frequently re-released late in the year, either to cash in on holiday movie goers with vacation time and a yearning to get away from annoying family members or to generate some last minute Oscar buzz. Do publishers do the same thing? Did Doubleday have a pile of Haunteds sitting around the warehouse and push them out again to try and get in on the gift-giving season? I don’t know about you, but nothing says “Happy Holidays!!” like swallowing a dismembered penis.

Or maybe Barnes and Noble had extras hanging about and decided to push them. I don’t know. It’s not unusual for older books to still be featured prominently on chain bookstore shelves. And there are certainly a lot less-worthy authors to be getting a late year promotion than Palahniuk so that doesn’t bother me. It just seemed a real stretch for the definition of “new.”