William Gibson

Little, Brown has paid a jaw-dropping seven-figure advance to Australian writer Hannah Kent for her debut novel Burial Rights. Kent, 27, works at the literary magazine Kill Your Darlings. Her novel is about the last woman to be publicly beheaded in 1830.

Twenty years ago, William Gibson wrote a poem, put it on a floppy disk, and coded it to self-destruct after one reading. Now, a PhD student studying cryptology has created a replica of the coded poem and challenged hackers to crack it. To sweeten the deal, whoever does so first will get a complete set of William Gibson books.

To get around paying state sales tax, Amazon has employed a fairly simple strategy. They set up distribution centers in low-residency states like Kentucky or Nevada (where taxes are lower) and ship mainly to people in high-residency states like New York or California (where taxes are higher). This has gotten them into more than a few legal entanglements with states who want Amazon’s tax money, but according to Slate, the company is giving in, and embracing a new strategy that could be disastrous for local retailers. Amazon now plans to relocate distribution centers to states where most of their customers live, and to pour millions into free next-day, and in some cases, same-day delivery. Another odd detail about the plan is that consumers who live in New York, Seattle, or the UK will soon be able to pick up their Amazon items in automated “lockers” set up in drug stores.

In the spirit of longtime biker George Plimpton, the Paris Review is offering a fancy bicycle to anybody who can best describe a cartoon of a wolf chasing a woman in the style of Elizabeth Bishop, Ray Bradbury, Joan Didion, Ernest Hemingway, or P. G. Wodehouse.

The Atlantic considers why award-winning memoirist Mary Karr can get away with releasing a country music album (which she did last month) and what it takes for a successful creative type to make the leap to a different field.

A new study by Publishers Weekly names Kickstarter as the fourth largest publisher of graphic novels, behind Marvel, DC, and Image. The crowdfunding site raised more than $4 million for graphic novels in a three-month period between February and April. During that time, seven projects raised over $40,000, while one—Rich Burlew’s comic The Order of the Stick—raked in more than a million dollars.