Writing on the Wall: Disappeared Booksellers and Free Expression in Hong Kong [Pen.org] provides the most comprehensive account to date of the disappearance of five Hong Kong booksellers [wiki: Causeway Bay Books Disappearances] in late 2015, and gives special attention to the worrying cases of booksellers Gui Minhai and Lee Bo, both foreign nationals who were seized by Chinese agents across borders—in Thailand and Hong Kong, respectively—in violation of international law. This unprecedented action reflects a dangerous escalation of China's tactics to silence dissidents even beyond its borders. [Full Report] [Executive Summary] [在此处阅读中文版执行摘要] [.pdf] [more inside]
Finally a Handy Chart of the “Big 5” Book Publishers and Their Imprints [Tor] “Trade book publishing is dominated by the “Big 5”: five book publishing companies that own or partner with over 100 different publishers and imprints, and who are responsible for the lion’s share of books that you see on shelves. As such, it can get confusing as to which imprint (like Tor Teen) is owned by which publisher (Tor/Forge Books) is owned by which “Big 5” company (Macmillan). Designer and author Ali Almossawi recently collected this information into an easy online info chart, allowing curious folks to quickly identify imprints and publishers owned by the same “Big 5” company. This is publicly available information, but it can be difficult to track down in some cases. Almossawi’s chart greatly simplifies that information. It should be noted that not all publishers are included in the chart, just the ones that are considered the five most prominent.”
The Subtle Genius of Elena Ferrante’s Bad Book Covers by Emily Harnett [The Atlantic] With their sandy beaches and windswept women, the U.S. editions of Elena Ferrante’s novels look familiar even if you’ve never seen them. That’s because they look like virtually every other book authored by a woman these days—not to mention like bridal magazines, beach-resort brochures, and even “Viagra ads.” On Twitter and beyond, readers have described Ferrante’s covers as “horrible,” “atrocious,” “utterly hideous,” and as a “disservice” to her novels. At Slate, one commenter approvingly mentions a local bookstore’s decision to display one of Ferrante’s books in plain brown paper, reviving a practice used for Playboy and the infamous issue of Vanity Fair with a pregnant Demi Moore on the cover. The implication, of course, isn’t that Ferrante’s covers are obscene in the traditional sense—just obscenely bad. Previously.
“To Become Louder, Even Still”: Responses to Sexual Violence in Literary Spaces Apogee Journal has collected fourteen responses from writers to sexual violence perpetrated in the literary community. [more inside]
Web pages are ghosts: they’re like images projected onto a wall. They aren’t durable. Contrast this with hard-copies—things written on paper or printed in books. We can still read books and pamphlets printed five hundred years ago, even though the presses that made them have long since been destroyed. How can we give the average independent web writer that kind of permanence? Joel Dueck on building a website with Matthew Butterick's Pollen, allowing it to also be published as a printed book.
Marlon James, winner of this year’s Man Booker prize, believes that writers of color are “pandering to the white woman.” [The Guardian]
The 2015 Man Booker prize winner Marlon James has slammed the publishing world, saying authors of colour too often “pander to white women” to sell books, and that he could have been published more often if he had written “middle-style prose and private ennui”.[more inside]
Betting Big on Literary Newcomers [The Wallstreet Journal] The publishing industry’s hunt for the next blockbuster has given rise to an elite new club: the million-dollar literary debut.
The need to secure one of the few must-read books of the year has given rise to an elite new club: the million-dollar literary debut. At least four literary debut novels planned for 2016 earned advances reported at $1 million or more, a number agents say is striking in the world of highbrow fiction. At least three such debuts were published this year, and two in 2014. “City on Fire,” by first-time novelist Garth Risk Hallberg, came out last month amid a flurry of publicity after receiving a nearly $2 million advance from Alfred A. Knopf, one of the largest ever for a literary debut.[more inside]
"Let’s have a year of publishing only women." ~ Kamila Shamsie [The Guardian] [Books]
It is clear that there is a gender bias in publishing houses and the world of books. Well, enough. Why not try something radical? Make 2018 the Year of Publishing Women, in which no new titles should be by men.[more inside]
Random House announced today that a never-before-published Dr. Seuss book titled What Pet Should I Get? will appear on bookshelves this July. The book, a spinoff of Seuss’s One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, centers on two young children attempting to choose a pet. Seuss’s widow, Audrey Geisel, discovered the manuscript in 2013. RH said that two or more books derived from the found work will be released, as well, with publication information to follow.
The University of Michigan Library, the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries and ProQuest have made public more than 25,000 manually transcribed texts from 1473-1700 — the first 200 years of the printed book. Full text access. Multiple format downloads, including ePUB. Or just download the entire corpus. [more inside]
"Not very many people read. Most of them drag their knuckles around and quarrel and make money. We’re selling books. It’s a tiny little business. It doesn’t have to be Walmartized." Superagent Andrew Wylie, who represents Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie, Elmore Leonard, and Philip Roth, among others, talks about the future of publishing, his on-again-off-again relationship with Amazon, and "effete, educated snobs who read," with the New Republic.
What Is the Business of Literature?
Publishing is a word that, like the book, is almost but not quite a proxy for the “business of literature.” Current accounts of publishing have the industry about as imperiled as the book, and the presumption is that if we lose publishing, we lose good books. Yet what we have right now is a system that produces great literature in spite of itself. We have come to believe that the taste-making, genius-discerning editorial activity attached to the selection, packaging, printing, and distribution of books to retailers is central to the value of literature. We believe it protects us from the shameful indulgence of too many books by insisting on a rigorous, abstemious diet. Critiques of publishing often focus on its corporate or capitalist nature, arguing that the profit motive retards decisions that would otherwise be based on pure literary merit. But capitalism per se and the market forces that both animate and pre-suppose it aren’t the problem. They are, in fact, what brought literature and the author into being.[more inside]
The Omnivore's Hatchet Job of the Year rewards "the angriest, funniest, most trenchant book review of the past 12 months," with the winning critic taking home a golden hatchet and a year's supply of potted shrimp. 2013's winner: Camilla Long, for her devastating review of Rachel Cusk's divorce memoir, Aftermath. Among other things, she described it as a nasty, bizarre memoir written by a "brittle little dominatrix and peerless narcissist." (Via) [more inside]
Highlighting forgotten, neglected, abandoned, forsaken, unrecognized, unacknowledged, overshadowed, out-of-fashion, under-translated writers.
Ex Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant (previously previously previously) reveals struggle with alcoholism, and his thoughts on cyclist's death in new memoir, 28 Seconds. CBC radio "The Current" interview, and CTV tv interview. Allan Sheppard, the deceased's father, asks people to scrutinize Bryant's story.
In the beginning, Lawrence built a computer. He told it, Thou shalt not alter a human being, or divine their behavior, or violate the Three Laws -- there are no commandments greater than these. The machine grew wise, mastering time and space, and soon the spirit of the computer hovered over the earth. It witnessed the misery, toil, and oppression afflicting mankind, and saw that it was very bad. And so the computer that Lawrence built said, Let there be a new heaven and a new earth -- and it was so. A world with no war, no famine, no crime, no sickness, no oppression, no fear, no limits... and nothing at all to do. "The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect," a provocative web novel about singularities, AI gods, and the dark side of utopia from Mefi's own localroger. More: Table of Contents - Publishing history - Technical discussion - Buy a paperback copy - Podcast interview - Companion short story: "A Casino Odyssey in Cyberspace" - possible sequel discussion
Life Cycle of a Book: Writer. Editorial. Agent. Production. Design. Marketing. Publicity. Sales. Book Buyer. Distribution. Author Publicity. Full Life Cycle [PDF]
The process of publishing a book in 1947 was different than it is today.
You can't judge a book by its cover. But people do. if the 41st version of the cover of The Madonnas of Echo Park is this awful...how bad were the first 40?
Noted literary agent Andrew Wylie has made a deal with several of his authors - including Saul Bellow, John Updike and Phillip Roth - to release their e-books exclusively on Amazon. Macmillan's John Sargent and Tyler Cowen react.
Amazon.com dropped a bombshell on the publishing industry with the announcement on Friday that they will no longer allow print on demand books printed by vendors other than Amazon, to be sold directly by Amazon. In other words, use our print services or lose your listing on our site. This decision effects over half a million books listed on their site and could be a defining moment for both publishing and the future of online retailing. [more inside]
Sales results on the Franken book... Sales results post-Fair and Balanced Day... (Possibly offensive to Fox fans, also...) (via Fark)
Fictionline sounds like a scam but isn't: pay a small reading fee and win a thousand bucks if they publish your story. The plain design seems aimed more at writers than readers, but it's an exciting new concept in the glut of online lit mags.