Copies of a new Singaporean fairy tale book will not be delivered until the current controversy surrounding it is resolved, despite a spike in demand for it.
This is according to the publisher of The Phantom Of Oxley Castle, Edmund Wee of Epigram Books.
Wee told Mothership.sg:
"The books are not sold out. One website LocalBooks.sg took pre-orders and their 20 copies were fully subscribed when the news broke. Then they “re-stocked” and now have over 700 orders. But we are not delivering any copies until the matter is resolved."
This was in response to claims online that the book is sold out:
The controversy was a result of The Online Citizen sharing a Nov. 12 Facebook post that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is suing Epigram Books and the book's authors.
However, TOC then edited their Facebook post to say the following:
"TOC understands that the Publisher (Epigram Books) and authors of this children's book have been told to expect a letter tomorrow in relation to the book. The book launch, that was scheduled to be held at The Art House at Old Parliament this coming Saturday, has just been cancelled (Publisher withheld the reasons and asked TOC to refer to the venue owner instead).
Correction: TOC wrote that the publisher will be sued by PM Lee. This is not confirmed. The affected individuals are only told to expect something to arrive on Monday."
Book launch cancellation
The cancellation of the book launch mentioned in the TOC post, which was supposed to publicise two books by Epigram on Nov. 18 at The Arts House, was confirmed by The Straits Times in its Nov. 12 report.
It said that Epigram Books and The Arts House each said that it was the others' decision to cancel.
"On Sunday (Nov 12), Mr Edmund Wee, chief executive of Epigram Books, said The Arts House had informed him on the phone over the weekend that they "did not want the book launch (to take place) at their premises".
He added that The Arts House gave him a reason for the cancellation, but he declined to disclose the reason. The book's sale will go ahead as planned.
An Arts House spokesman, however, told The Straits Times on Sunday night that the final decision to cancel or postpone the event was made by Epigram Books."
On Monday, Nov. 13, Epigram explained the situation in two press releases.
Wee said the book launch had been postponed to allow Epigram to better focus on another book instead:
"While the original intent was to do a dual book launch, we have decided that it will be better to focus on doing a one-book launch which is Peh Shing Huei’s ‘Dream Island: The Mad Mad World of Philip Yeo’ which has a charity component."
Epigram added that the ST report about the book launch cancellation was inaccurate.
"There has been a misunderstanding regarding what Edmund Wee had shared with The Straits Times about the cancellation of the book launch. The decision to cancel the book launch was initiated by Epigram Books."
With regards to the letter to be served on the book's authors, Wee said no one has received any letter.
"Epigram Books has not received any letter of any kind from PMO or any individuals. Legal advice with Peter Low & Choo LLC has been taken regarding the publishing of the book."
About the book
The Phantom of Oxley Castle is about two young princes, a princess, and a butler named OB Markus who all lived in Oxley Castle.
The book is inspired by the Lee family saga over the Oxley Road house.
The idea for the book was by Wee, and it was done together with Chloe Tong, a postgraduate student at the University of Warwick and Liana Gurung, a graduate of NUS. It is illustrated by Ann Gee Neo.
Want your own copy?
According to the press release, the book will still be for sale:
"We will continue to take orders but the delivery of the books will be confirmed at a later date. A limited stock of pre-orders are available online now."
As of Nov. 13, 6.30pm, a copy of the book can still be ordered from Local Books SG.
Top image from Local Books SG