An Appeal From Bryan Garner

garnersI got this email on Friday from Bryan Garner. He’s not really a personal friend <sigh> . . . I just subscribe to his daily usage tips. He writes that Amazon is no longer interested in carrying Garner’s Modern American Usage, and he asks writers and editors everywhere to request the book from Amazon and Barnes & Noble in an effort to change their minds.
Here’s his note.

If you’re a fan of my usage tips and Garner’s Modern American Usage
I have a favor to ask of you as a loyal reader: In the next few hours or days, would you please go to or and buy one or more copies of the new third edition of Garner’s Modern American Usage as holiday presents? In fact, keep this gift possibility in mind through the end of the year, won’t you?
I need your help in sending a message to the major bookstore chains: they’re not stocking the book because they’ve told Oxford University Press that they consider usage guides a “defunct category.” It’s maddeningly unbelievable. Please help me show them that they’re stupendously wrong.
Meanwhile, in the coming months you might ask about the book when you’re in a bookstore: ask the managers why they don’t stock copies, and encourage them to do so.
If you’re curious to see what effect you’re having, watch the rankings on or in coming days and weeks. We’ll be alerting the major chains to those numbers, and we want to get as close to the top 50 as we can. If you’re trying to order and see that the book is labeled “out of stock,” order anyway: the effort is also to ensure that the online booksellers keep adequate stocks.
In return for this favor – it’s a grassroots effort – I’ll be happy to inscribe copies that you send to LawProse for that purpose, if you (1) include a filled-out FedEx airbill for returning them to you, and (2) suggest an appropriate inscription.
Thank you for whatever help you can provide in this endeavor to show booksellers that the concern for good English is alive and well.

Readers of this blog know that I consider Garner’s Modern American Usage to be an absolutely essential reference for all editors and writers. I turn to it weekly, if not daily, for guidance. It’s almost unbelievable to me that Amazon could consider not carrying it.
If you don’t own a copy of Garner’s or need to update to the next edition, it sounds like now is the time to buy. Maybe if enough people respond to this email Bryan WILL become a close, personal friend.
One can only hope.


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