This is the first time I’ve heard of Alan Smithee working in the audiobook industry. From Publishers Weekly (“Narrator Takes Name off Mickey Mantle Audiobook,” by Kevin Howell):
The strange back story surrounding publication of Peter Golenbock’s 7: The Mickey Mantle Novel took another twist this week when Michael Viner’s Phoenix Audio released the unabridged audiobook version–the narrator’s real name does not appear on the product.
The reading is credited to Alan Smithee, a well-known pseudonym that has been used in Hollywood for nearly 40 years by film directors who wanted their names removed from productions they didn’t want to be associated with. “Smithee” is actually the fourth narrator that Phoenix Audio approached about reading the book.
Apparently, third-choice John Larroquette recorded half of the book before quitting in disgust. I would have said that you can’t buy this kind of publicity — but, apparently, you wouldn’t want to even if you could:
When the hardcover was released last month, the press announced a 250,000-copy first printing and a $150,000 promotion/publicity budget. Figures from Nielsen BookScan show the novel has sold 3,000 copies since its April release.
For the sake of America’s forests, let’s hope that the announced first printing was more than a little bit inflated.
(Read the Booklist review here.)