Davis Press: Should You Publish Meccan Madness?

9 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2018

See all articles by R. Edward Freeman

R. Edward Freeman

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Andrew Wicks

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Patricia H. Werhane

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Rosalyn Berne

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Jenny Mead

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

You are the owner/editor of your own publishing firm, Davis Press. You encounter a dilemma when, in 2010, you are given the opportunity to publish a novel set in the Islamic holy city of Mecca. Given the angry fallout after the publication of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, the Iraq War, and the controversy of Qur'an desecration at the US naval base prison at Guantanamo Bay, publishing the novel presents a host of ethical dilemmas. This case discusses the ethics of a free press and challenges the profit motive in the face of jeopardizing political and religious world affairs.

Excerpt

UVA-E-0421

Mar. 27, 2018

Davis Press: Should You Publish Meccan Madness?

After 25 years of career success in a leading US publishing firm, you harnessed the monetary and human resources to launch your own publishing firm, Davis Press. Your company has created a niche for itself in high-adventure, factually based fiction, and, as a risk-taker, you have profited from the national resurgence in adventure novel sales. It is late 2010, and you are currently celebrating Davis Press's sixth year since inception and its first year in the black.

Earlier in the year, author Jonathan Taajwar had submitted a manuscript to Davis Press called Meccan Madness. The editorial staff reviewed the book, and it has been sitting on your desk for six months while you pondered what to do. You read the manuscript the week it arrived and found it to be a fascinating and riveting novel about a Muslim woman who attempts to lead an underground movement to take control of the Kaaba, the holy sanctuary at Mecca. You are sure the book would be a bestseller, which would give a large and welcome boost to your bottom line.

Your confidence in the success of Meccan Madness is also, however, the very reason for your serious concern about publishing it under the Davis Press name. You are well aware that the novel's basic premise makes it controversial, as does the fact that Taajwar is a self-professed lapsed Muslim. Needless to say, any publication critical of Islam would be badly received, primarily by people of the Islamic faith. Although the tragedy of September 11, almost four years earlier, had created interest in learning about the Islamic faith and consequently would probably boost sales, it had also created a far more volatile climate that could mean a potentially hostile reception to Taajwar's novel. In addition, the Iraq War, waged by America in the spring of 2003, had created a lot of anti-American sentiment not only in Iraq but also in many other Muslim countries.

. . .

Keywords: business and society, religion, Islam, publishing, Salman Rushdie, world affairs

Suggested Citation

Freeman, R. Edward and Wicks, Andrew and Werhane, Patricia H. and Berne, Rosalyn and Mead, Jenny, Davis Press: Should You Publish Meccan Madness?. Darden Case No. UVA-E-0421. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3159651

R. Edward Freeman (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Andrew Wicks

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty/wicks.htm

Patricia H. Werhane

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434-924-4840 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty/werhane.htm

Rosalyn Berne

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Jenny Mead

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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