George W.S. Trow

News from the BEA: New York Review Books has announced that it will launch an e-book series called NYRB Lit in the Fall. Edited by frequent New York Review of Books contributor Sue Halpern, the series, which will include fictino and nonfiction, will release ten e-books a year. The first two will be Lindsay Clarke's The Water Theatre and Zena el Khalil's Beirut, I Love You: A Memoir.

Amazon has bought the backlist rights to more than three thousand titles by Avalon Books, a sixty-two-year-old publishing house that specializes in mystery, romance, and Western novels.

Norman Mailer and William S. Burroughs both violently attacked their wives. Charles Bukowski was a raging misogynist. And yet more often than not, writers are forgiven for their bad behavior. At Litreactor, John Jarzemsky wonders why “we not only excuse our authors from being assholes, we celebrate them for it.”

The story reverberating across Washington D.C. Twitter feeds today is GQ’s account of the financial decline of liberal policy magazine the American Prospect, which needs to raise $1.2 million by mid-June in order to stay afloat. Since announcing its dire situation several weeks ago, the magazine has raised $900,000, but it’s still not enough. The entire staff is preparing to take a temporary fifty-percent pay cut, followed by a weeklong furlough.

Science blogger and author Jonah Lehrer has signed on as a staff writer at The New Yorker. (Also at The New Yorker, Alec Wilkinson pens a lovely remembrance of longtime staffer George W.S. Trow, author of the prescient Within the Context of No Context.)

A minor scandal rocked the world of digital publishing this week when it was discovered that an electronic edition of Tolstoy’s War and Peace put out by Barnes and Noble had replaced all instances of the world “kindled” with “Nookd”—a reference to the company’s e-reader. Ben Greenman wonders how works by Shakespeare and Emily Dickinson would read if the same switch were made.

In response to Christian Lorentzen’s musing in our latest issue about what future Occupy Wall Street novels will look like, The Millions proposes that at least one example already exists—even if the book predated the movement: Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story.


Matt Gineo, winner of the 2011 Hemingway lookalike competition.

Dave Eggers has announced his latest novelA Hologram for the King, which will be released on June 28—in an interview with fellow writer Stephen Elliott.

When he’s not encouraging kids to skip college, Paypal cofounder Peter Thiel has been channeling his energy and resources into an initiative he calls the Seasteading Institute, dedicated to constructing “floating cities” in international zones. Thiel’s latest plan to build one of these libertarian utopias in Honduras was recently ensnared in red tape, but according to a colleague, even though the city doesn't exist yet, you can still read about it: “We have a seasteading book contract with Simon & Schuster,” Patri Friedman told The Observer. “We got a nice advance, and so that’s coming out next year.”

A Book Expo panel on self-publishing revealed that 211,269 books were self-published last year, up from 133,036 the year before. An exec for self-publishing service Bowker also noted that while fiction is the most booming genre for writers, non-fiction books sell the best.

At The Believer, poets Rachel Zucker, Matthew Rohrer, and Wayne Koestenbaum chat about poetry and domesticity. (Bonus: The magazine has posted a list of Zucker’s most recent internet search terms, which are oddly poetic.)

Philip Roth’s novel American Pastoral will be adapted into a movie, and Fisher Stevens has been tapped to direct it.

Amazon has recently spent $52 million installing air-conditioning systems in warehouses across the country, following the Morning Call newspaper's investigative report on working conditions at the company’s Breinigsville, Pennsylvania, warehouse.

There are only two weeks left to enter the thirty-second annual Hemingway lookalike contest, sponsored by Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key West. Here’s a gallery of past winners.


A scene from the Hay Festival

The new Bookforum is out. Here's Christian Lorentzen's essay on money novels in the 21st century.

Bad news at GOOD: Only a day after releasing its twenty-seventh issue, the mag laid off a large chunk of its editorial staff, including executive editor Ann Friedman, lifestyle editor Amanda Hess, senior editor Cord Jefferson, and associate editor Nona Willis Aronowitz (who edited last year's Out of the Vinyl Deeps, a collection of rock criticism by her mother, Ellen Willis).

To the delight of book publicists everywhere, after a two-year hiatus, Oprah is re-launching her book club (the revived “2.0” book club will be online-only). The former queen of daytime TV announced the news as well as her first selection—Cheryl Strayed’s Wild.

Responding to Arthur Krystal’s argument in the New Yorker that the distinction between literary fiction and genre fiction has become more opaque, Lev Grossman, author of The Magicians, counters: “we expect literary revolutions to come from above, from the literary end of the spectrum—the difficult, the avant-garde, the high-end, the densely written. But I don’t think that’s what’s going on. Instead we’re getting a revolution from below, coming up from the supermarket aisles.”

Here's how Germany’s fixed-price bookselling system has kept Amazon at bay. And in other Amazon news, the retailer has just patented e-gifting.

After seventy-two years in the closet, the Green Lantern will come out next week.


A French children's book.

Embarrassing photos may never disappear from the internet, but it turns out that an author's early fanfiction can. When Galleycat went searching for the origins of 50 Shades of Grey (which originated as Twilight fanfiction), they found that all of E.L. James's Twilight-inspired writing had been removed from her website. Galleycat queried the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine about accessing the vanished files, and was told that James had requested that her work not be archived. So what's behind the case of the missing fanfic? Carolyn Kellogg speculates that there might have been a copyright issue.

Excerpts from the ninetieth issue of The Believer are now online, include writing by Geoff Dyer, an interview with Sophie Calle, and Simon Rich in conversation with himself.

Hundreds of people have taken to Facebook to protest the University of Missouri's decision to close its press.

A new study finds that half of self-published authors are making less than $500 a year on their books.

More than two-hundred and seventy Israeli authors have sent letters to the government in support of a proposed bill that would protect author royalties and keep profits from dropping as publishing houses compete with each other—and Amazon—to lower book prices.

Even though we're hearing that many publishers are sitting out Book Expo America this year, Publishers Weekly reports that this BEA 2012 is going to be the biggest in the expo's sixty-five year history.

Why are French children's books so terrifying? Jenny Colgan started a blog featuring the scariest.

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