On the Books: Amazon faces criticism for limited availability of J.K. Rowling's new novel

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Image Credit: Andrew Milligan/AP

J.K. Rowling’s The Silkworm, penned under her pseudonym Robert Galbraith, hits shelves today. For weeks, Amazon and Hachette (Rowling’s publisher) have been deadlocked in negotiating the percentages of revenue from ebook sales that go to each company; as a result, Amazon delayed shipping for Hachette books and didn’t allow pre-ordering for some Hachette titles. With The Silkworm, however, they’re bowing to some pressure: After not selling the ebook for The Silkworm when the book was first released, Amazon has received a barrage of negative comments on its site, and has now added the option to buy the ebook. Amazon also initially announced shipping times of 1-2 months, but has since reverted to normal shipping times. The New York Times and Publishers Weekly both report that some chain and independent booksellers anticipate increased demand from customers unable to buy the book on Amazon.

Salman Rushdie won the PEN Pinter Prize, given annually to a writer who casts an “unflinching, unswerving” gaze on the world and shows a “fierce intellectual determination … to define the real truth of our lives and societies.” The prize, established in 2009 in memory of Nobel-winning British playwright Harold Pinter, has previously been awarded to Hanif Kureishi, Carol Ann Duffy, and Tom Stoppard. “It’s very moving to receive an award named after my friend Harold Pinter,” Rushdie said, “whose literary genius was matched by his passion for social justice.” [The Guardian]

Carmen Balcells, the legendary literary agent who represented Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, and many other celebrated Spanish-language authors, is 83. But she isn’t slowing down. She announced a new venture with New York literary agent Andrew Wylie, where they’d share the writers they represent. The details are still unclear, but this is a huge shift for Balcells, who is in many ways responsible for the boom of Latin American literature that started with Márquez in the 1960s. [The New York Times]

Promising bondage, sex, and a shirtless Jamie Dorman, 50 Shades of Grey will surely attract some attention when it hits cinemas. But one notable figure who’s not at all interested is Miami Vice star Don Johnson, whose daughter Dakota Johnson will star in the film as Anastasia Steele.Johnson insists that it’s not because of the sex; he’s just not interested. “I probably will not see it just because it’s not a movie I would see. I’ve never seen The Vampire Diaries, I’ve never seen Twilight,” Johnson told The Telegraph. [The Telegraph]

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