Random House held its first-ever public open house last week. For a twenty-five dollar entrance fee, participants got to listen to editors talk about the making of a bestseller, listen to Kurt Andersen and Emily Bazelon discuss current affairs, and sit in on a panel about giving books as gifts.

Did you know Bill Gates has his own book review website? Moby Lives flagged it first, and even after careful scrutiny, we’re still struggling to believe that it’s not a spoof.

Jon Cotner, the poet laureate of the stroll and co-author of Ten Walks/Two Talks, has posted a slideshow about another one of his interactive jaunts, this time asking strangers on the street: What do you want for the holidays?

June Thomas talks with Fred Bass, the owner of the legendary Strand Bookstore, on the latest edition of Slate’s Afterword podcast. Among other interesting factoids to come out of the conversation, Bass reveals that tote bags now make up fifteen percent of the Strand’s sales.

The Oxford English Dictionary has issued an apology for choosing “bloodbath” as its word of the day only four days after the Newton school shootings. In a statement on its website, the OED apologized “unreservedly” for the decision, adding, "the OED word of the day is selected months in advance by an editorial committee, and is distributed automatically each day. The timing … is a coincidence of the worst kind, and we apologise for any distress or upset caused by what might seem to be a highly insensitive choice.”

Penguin has followed the lead of Hachette, Simon and Schuster, and HarperCollins and struck a deal with the Department of Justice over e-book pricing. The deal is almost exactly the same as the arrangement struck by the other houses, only in this case, there was added incentive for Penguin to do it. From the New York Times: “It is in everyone’s interests that the proposed Penguin Random House company should begin life with a clean sheet of paper.”

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