Richard Wiseman, a British psychology professor and former magician, just put out a cool-seeming book that takes a scientific and skeptical look at all things paranormal. (Here’s Original Skepchick Rebecca Watson’s review of the book.) According to Wiseman’s blog, while the book has been a best seller in the UK, it won’t be getting a hard-copy release in the U.S.
Here’s Wiseman explaining why….
The book has done well in the UK and has been bought by publishers in lots of other countries. However, the major American publishers were reluctant to support a skeptical book, with some suggesting that I re-write it to suggest that ghosts were real and psychic powers actually existed!
Might be easy to look at this as proof of how silly and superstitious Americans are, but personally I think it’s evidence that publishers are pricks who think their audience is a pack of morons. Stories like this remind me why I’m not particularly concerned that e-books and online piracy are destroying the publishing industry.
Anyway, Wiseman responded by self-publishing the book in America. A Kindle edition is available on Amazon and his UK publisher shipped a “boatload” of physical books across the Atlantic.
However, according to Pharyngula, as of this morning all those ink-and-paper books have sold out. Took about three days. Over a long weekend, no less.
So much for the American public not being able to handle a scientific approach to the paranormal.