A new book, to be released by Vintage Books (Knopf) next month, will provide interested readers with an in-depth account of the Edward Snowden scandal, from start to finish. Beginning with a team from The Guardian being invited to hear what this one-time senior security official with the NSA had to tell following his email that promised the dirt, and winding through a tricky path of a government far overstepping its bounds, this book–The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man by Luke Harding–promises readers all of the information from a top investigative journalist.
At the risk of sounding obtuse…Edward who?
Not that Edward Snowden is in any way not a major topic of importance to freedom, and not to say that this book won’t bring to light some never-before-read facts directly from the NSA system administrator’s own mouth, but there’s a larger issue here. Why did readers have to wait so long for this book? And given that it’s releasing next month in paperback, why are we waiting still?
Now and Then Reader, a long-form journalism ebook publisher, produced a title on the death of Osama Bin Laden within record time following the actions of SEAL Team Six. Even more impressively, ebook developer Vook had two titles standing at the ready, Why Romney Lost and Why Obama Lost, both books having been written, edited, and formatted for digital devices in advance of the election. Upon the same-day announcement of the official voting results, engineers at Vook simply had to press a button to publish the appropriate title.
But if the research has been done and verified on the upcoming Snowden title, the book written, the editing finalized, and the entire manuscript formatted for printing, why is it not in the hands of readers on their devices? What’s the hold up?
While there are certainly considerations in the publishing industry that affect the launch date of all books, it seems almost irresponsible to announce that a title on such an important global event involving illegal NSA surveillance and treason, an event that has caused governments around the world to reconsider what it means to operate in the digital age, will be coming some time next month.
The issue itself is still unresolved legally, with the US Supreme Court refusing last November to hear the arguments that the government did or did not have the right to gather metadata on phone calls within and to the country.