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J.K. Rowling's 'The Casual Vacancy' Embargo Broken By Associated Press, New York Daily News

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JK ROWLING
PA

The embargo placed on J.K. Rowling's highly anticipated new novel "The Casual Vacancy" sent news organizations into a tizzy this week, as some outlets published reviews of the book earlier than expected.

Both the Associated Press and New York Daily News broke the embargo set by Rowling's publisher on Wednesday night, publishing reviews of the new book hours earlier than the agreement dictated.

According to the Washington Post, the embargo was set for 1:00 a.m. on Thursday for reviews, and 3:00 a.m. for book sales.

The Associated Press' review was picked up by other publications, including The Washington post, and published ahead of the embargo. The Post's executive editor, Marcus Brauchli, described the publishing industry as "fighting a losing battle."

Because of the time difference, the embargo was six hours earlier for press in the United Kingdom, which as one editor put it, made little sense for an Internet age.

The Independent's Matthew Bell wrote that the arrival of Rowling's new book "has been more remarkable for showing the ruthless, bullying side of publishing that has become all too common." According to Bell, the embargo was so intense that news organizations were not even allowed to mention its existence, so the Independent's literary editor tossed the agreement in the recycling bin, unsigned.

Writers have also taken to Twitter to discuss their frustration with "The Casual Vacancy" embargo. In response to writer Mark Athitakis' question about the consequences of breaking the Rowling embargo, Salon's book critic Laura Miller said that critics fear that breaking the agreement would make it difficult to obtain future releases.

"Theoretically, if you broke the embargo, [the publisher would] refuse access to other embargoed titles in the future, not just this author's," she wrote.

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