May 17 – May 24, 2007 Edition

Turndown Tales

Nearly Turned Down

By Ritz-Carlton

NEW YORK, NY/5/14/07-­Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, has agreed to “tone down” some of the language in its Turndown Tales, a collection of stories by famous authors written expressly for the Ritz-Carlton hotel chain. The project has been in the works for more than a year when the Ritz-Carlton agreed to give the paperback free to customers for a month as part of its evening turndown service.

The book was originally scheduled for release in June, but the deal ran into a few problems when the hotel chain complained about language issues and racy content. Publisher Judith Curr was quoted in the New York Times as saying she wouldn’t tell the contributing authors, including Jodi Picoult, John Connally, and Susan Isaacs to rewrite their stories.

According to the Times story on May 14, the deal looked as if it might be called off, but the two companies sat down and reviewed the stories together and finally reached an agreement. “One of the things we’re going to do is tone down some of the swearing ­ that made a huge difference for them,” Ms. Curr told the Times.

Turndown Tales is now tentatively scheduled for publication in late summer or early fall and will appear on Ritz-Carlton hotel beds shortly thereafter.

The Times reported that Allen Adamson, managing director of Landor, a New York corporate branding consultancy, characterized Ritz-Carlton’s initial rejection of the manuscript as “massive overthinking.”

“In today’s world, people have a complaint about everything, so you can never be too cautious,” he said. “But it seems to me that the most important consideration here should be whether the quality of the writing is consistent with the Ritz experience.”