The Financial Times reports that Penguin and Random House—two of the “big six” publishers—are in talks about merging. Pearson, which owns Penguin, confirmed on Thursday that they have been meeting with Bertelsmann, which owns Random House, about the possibility of a consolidation that would “give Bertlesmann more than a 50 percent stake in the mega-publishing company that would form.” But according to Pearson, this is not a done deal: “the two companies have not reached agreement and there is no certainty that the discussions will lead to a transaction.”
Why do American novelists take so long to finish their books, wonders the Guardian?
A San Francisco court has ordered that the FBI pay journalist Seth Rosenfeld almost half a million dollars for refusing him information that he requested under the Freedom of Information Act. The files in question concerned the FBI’s involvement with Ronald Reagan over a crackdown against student radicals at UC Berkeley during the 1960s. The documents, which Rosenfeld eventually obtained after a legal battle with the FBI, were used in his book, Subversives, which was reviewed in our Fall issue.
The first issue of Tomorrow, the single-issue magazine edited by former GOOD staffers Ann Friedman, Cord Jefferson, and Nona Willis Aronowitz, among others, is now on sale.
Forget audiobooks—publisher Hamish Hamilton is going vinyl. For the next issue of its literary magazine Five Dials, the UK publisher is including “a 10-inch dub remix of Hollis Hampton-Jones's novel, Comes the Night." By way of explanation, they write, "For this one-off audio experiment, Hollis is backed by Ryan Norris, a member of the Nashville-based band Lambchop. The result is a swirling, moody epic, cut with static, with a fugitive melody or two smuggled into the mix...” Excerpts are available here.
At Page Turner, Sam Sacks reflects on his years as a bookseller, and the “lupine” way that New York’s Strand bookstore acquires its goods. “It is hungry for your books—it wants to buy them cheap and sell them slightly less cheap," he writes. "Watching the process is mesmerizing: A potential seller will appear and present the carefully culled fruits of his library. His books are instantly snatched up and spread like entrails over the counter. The grizzled buyers, who have worked at the store for decades, claw at them for a moment and then shout out a non-negotiable offer. Seconds later the man staggers away with two wrinkled tens and a kick in the behind.”