Mayor Resigns over a Children’s Book Scandal

My eye caught this headline, and as a small press book publisher, I couldn’t help but click to read more. At first I was amused, then horrified (the thought of a publishing scandal—wow!), and then incredulous at the sheer numbers of books involved. I wanted to wait until the dust had settled on the case before commenting, but if you missed the story, here are the highlights:

  • Catherine Pugh, the mayor of Baltimore, wrote a children’s book called “Healthy Holly”.
  • She struck a major book deal with the University of Maryland Medical System, where she was a member of the hospital network’s board. This deal would result in the Maryland Medical System contracting to purchase thousands of books.
  • Multiple unethical deals were then cut for the purchase of tens of thousands of books for other organizations, as Pugh used her position as the mayor of Baltimore to strike book deals.
  • These book deals amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars in her pocket.

I read all of this with disbelief . . . along with the knowledge that no authors I know were nearly as devious—nor desperate—for book sales to do something so unethical. While I love seeing anything having to do with book publishing in the headlines, this was not quite the way I wanted it to go!