Book-of-the-Month Club alternate


A writer says:
— I'm a Book-of-the-Month Club alternate, on the best-seller list for six weeks.
Throw Momma from the Train, film

How would you understand the underlined part?
  • much_rice

    Senior Member
    English - American
    I think you mean "six" rather than "sis."

    The Book-of-the-Month Club is an organization that (as I understand it) mails you a popular book each month. An "alternate" is someone who wins a contest if the real winner refuses to accept their award (or drops out of the competition or gets sick or dies or something). My guess is that the writer's book will be the "book of the month" if the actual winner refuses to participate. This does sometimes happen: the similar Oprah's Book Club was scandalized when Jonathan Franzen refused to allow his 2001 novel The Corrections to be included.

    Another possible meaning of "alternate" here: there could be a #1 book of the month that members automatically receive, as well as "alternate" books that they choose to receive if they don't like the sound of the #1 book. This is basically the same as above, the "alternate" is the not-quite-winner.

    Keep in mind this is the noun AL-ter-nate, not the verb al-ter-NATE.


    Senior Member
    English - USA (Midwest/Appalachia)
    The Book-of-the-Month Club sent its members a bestselling book every month. Members received the primary selection unless they chose one of a few available alternates.


    Senior Member
    English - USA (Midwest/Appalachia)
    Note also that the author of a book selected as a Book-of-the-Month Club alternate could expect to earn quite a lot of money from royalties. Not as much as the first choice but enough to live on for several years.
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