Thursday, August 27, 2009

Has Operation Bookstore Been Defeated?

It would appear that in Wired's contest to find Evan Ratliff the current score is Evan 1 and Operation Bookstore 0.

Nicholas Thompson, Evan's editor at Wired, posted this tweet today about Evan's successful purchase of Tracy Kidder's new book, Strength in What Remains:

According to Nicholas, via a Twitter direct message to me, Evan emailed him the message about purchasing the book and "Since Evan can't lie to me, it's either true or someone cracked his account. But writing sure sounds like him." 

Nicholas had assured that Evan would purchase the new Kidder book on or before today. The ABA mentioned in the email to Nicholas is most likely a reference to the American Booksellers Association, the association for independent bookstores. Operation Bookstore was mentioned in the official Wired blog, Vanish: Finding Evan Ratliff, ensuring Evan would know the hunters were focused on finding him at an independent bookstore.

Evan is now taunting his hunters by letting us know he eluded Operation Bookstore, which was designed to limit Evan's purchase to a large chain bookstore, thus narrowing his purchase options and hopefully making it easier to find him.

I wonder if our man on the lam went to extraordinary measures to purchase his coveted book at an independent bookstore. Maybe he disguised his appearance even more before walking into the store, throwing a glance over both shoulders, warily looking side to side, before entering the Shangi-La of book nerds: an independent bookstore.

Perhaps the paranoia of a man on the lam forced Evan to hide behind big, dark sunglasses and a creepy-looking trench coat while standing on a street corner whispering to pedestrians, "Hey, wanna make 50 bucks? It's yours if you buy the new Tracy Kidder book for me."

We probably won't know how our efforts to find him effected Evan until his follow up story in the December issue of Wired is published. It seems that the extra worry on his brow or any special steps Evan took to make his coveted purchase at an independent bookstore were worth it. For indeed, he did make his purchase at an independent bookstore and tauntingly defeated Operation Bookstore.

Unless, of course, Operation Bookstore never existed?

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