Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Ruling In Favor Of A People’s Court For Book Publishing Industry

Joseph A. Wapner, a California judge, died recently at the age of 97.  Though he may have ruled on some important cases – he was the first Jew elected presiding judge of Los Angeles; Superior Court system (in 1960), in which he supervised 200 judges. He was best known for being the first judge on television’s wildly popular and long-standing show, The People’s Court.

He presided over the show’s first dozen years, handling down judgments in over 2,500 cases.  His success inspired imitators, including a show that exceeded him, both in duration and style, Judge Judy.

We all could benefit from a People’s Court.  The real courts suck.  It takes many months before a real small claims court takes up your case and if you are fortunate enough to win, it’s not so easy to collect on your judgment. Imagine how much better life would be if, on the spot, we could just have a trained and impartial mediator available to resolve a disagreement.  How much better would life in school, at the office, or in the home be if we can find justice without having to look far and wide for it?  What if book publishing had a People’s Court?

The Book publishing People’s Court could hear cases on:

·         Publishers who fail to market a book properly.
·         Arguments book editors have with authors.
·         Disagreements cover designers have with authors.
·         Determining which book an acquisitions editor should buy.
·         Royalty disputes between publishers and authors.
·         Securing payments on foreign rights deals.
·         Writer plagiarism.
·         Libel and slander.
·         Free speech issues.
·         Libraries seeking an increase in government funding.
·         Whether a book review was fair.
·         Which books should be declared the best of the year.
·         Bookstores looking to save their lease from a greedy landlord.
·         People who failed to return books borrowed from a friend.
·         Amazon’s monopolistic tendencies.
·         Whether the book was really better than its movie version.

Okay, so some of those matters don’t rise up to being court-worthy, but it’s obvious there are many debates, disagreements, and fights over plenty of things related to the writing, publishing, selling, and promoting of a book.

As a teen-ager, I recall watching Judge Wapner on The People’s Court.  It was a huge success.  According to a New York Times obituary:

“A poll conducted by The Washington Post in 1989 found that while two-thirds of those surveyed could not name any of the nine judges on the United States Supreme Court, 54% could identify Judge Wapner as the judge of The People’s Court.  That same year, a study published by the National Center for State Courts found that caseloads for small claims court across the country had nearly doubled and largely attributed that increase to the show’s influence.”

Judge Wapner, you served the court and the people well.  May you continue to delve out justice wherever you are.  And may the book industry follow suit and form The Book Publishing People’s Court.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby 

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