- Renowned American poet Galway Kinnell died of leukemia last week at the age of 87. Kinnell received numerous accolades throughout his career, including the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for 1982’s Selected Poems—as well as a MacArthur genius grant, a poet laureateship in Vermont, a chancellorship at the American Academy of Poets, and, most recently, the 2010 Wallace Stevens Award for lifetime achievement. The World War II vet, anti-Vietnam War activist, and civil rights champion infused his verse with the gritty social issues pervading the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. The Los Angeles Times writes that the Kinnell is celebrated for his “forceful, spiritual takes on the outsiders and underside of contemporary life,” and how he “blended the physical and the philosophical, not shying from the most tactile and jarring details of humans and nature.” His work reflects the influence that Walt Whitman and friend W.S. Merwin had on him. Kinnell—who also taught at New York University, Sarah Lawrence College, and Reed College before retiring in 2011—is survived by his wife, two children from a former marriage, and two grandchildren.
Tag: Amazon (1-10 of 87)
- Barnes & Noble has reversed this week’s decision to close its Bronx branch, the only major bookstore in the neighborhood. Borough president Ruben Diaz Jr. led the fiery local campaign to keep the shop open, brokering a compromise between B&N and the the property’s landlord. Mr. Diaz told the crowd at a press conference yesterday that “this is more thatn just a bookstore… This is where kids read and broaden their minds and do their homework.” [The New York Times]
- The first-ever Kirkus Prize-winning authors were announced in Austin, Tex. last night. Writers Lily King, Roz Chast, and Kate Samworth took home the brand-new $50,000 prizes in the fiction, nonfiction and young readers categories, respectively. King’s novel Euphoria, the story of three intertwined rival anthropologists, stood out “for its perfect construction, its economy and originality, and its fearlessness.” Chast, a cartoonist for The New Yorker, won for her illustrated memoir Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, the story of the last few years of her parents’ lives—also up for a National Book Award later this year. Samworth’s Aviary Wonders Inc. is a a strange, funny, dark young adult tale about a world where birds are extinct. [NPR] READ FULL STORY
Simon & Schuster has signed a new multiyear contract with Amazon that gives the publisher nearly full autonomy over ebook pricing. Both dealmakers appear to be pleased with the agreement, going into effect Jan. 1, 2015. S&S chief executive Carolyn Reidy said in a letter obtained by The New York Times that the deal “is economically advantageous for both Simon & Schuster and its authors and maintains the author’s share of income generated from eBook sales.” The publisher will gain control over determining the prices of its authors’ ebooks, “with some limited exceptions,” according to the letter. Amazon, for example, can still offer some discount deals.
- We know how much Tom Hanks loves typewriters—but since he co-wrote 2001’s Band of Brothers, the actor hasn’t had much original writing to show. Maybe he wiped the dust off his favorite typing device for “Alan Bean Plus Four,” a fictional story he penned for the new issue of The New Yorker.
The humorous story, about four buddies who journey to the moon in a capsule made from duct tape, is positively Hanksian. As an author, Hanks uses similar themes to the roles he has championed—limitless ambition, vivid detail, and emotional depth. Or maybe that could all stem from the 18-minute recording The New Yorker provided of Hanks reading the story himself. [The New Yorker] READ FULL STORY
- Bestselling young adult author John Green unveiled the cover of a special 10th-anniversary edition of his debut novel Looking for Alaska via Twitter yesterday. Green said on his Tumblr that the new cover was designed by Rodrigo Corral, the man behind the now ubiquitous cover of his young adult sensation and The Fault in Our Stars. He also shared that the new edition of the award-winning book—which became a bestseller in 2012, seven years after its release—will include a new introduction, an in-depth Q&A, editor notes and a few scenes that were cut from early drafts of the work.
“It’s hard to believe that ten years have passed,” Green wrote. “I feel so lucky that Alaska is still in print and still finding readers (some of whom were in preschool when it was first published). Thanks to everyone who has read it and shared it this past decade, and I hope you enjoy the anniversary edition,” currently available for preorder. Alaska is the coming-of-age story of new boarding school student Miles Halter who falls in love with a girl named Alaska. Green announced this spring that Alaska was being developed for the big screen by Sarah Polley, several weeks after the release of Josh Boone’s smash-hit adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars. READ FULL STORY
- Amazon is coming to Midtown. The The Wall Street Journal reports that the online giant is set to open its first brick-and-mortar store at 7 W. 34th St. in Manhattan, directly across the street from the Empire State Building. Herald Square, Madison Square Garden, Penn Station—major hubs for locals and tourists alike—are all a block or two away from the retailer-savvy location. In addition to the nearby stores (like the Macy’s flagship location, Forever 21, and H&M)—as well as a smartly timed opening just in time for the holiday shopping season—Amazon’s first serious venture into face-to-face consumer interaction is poised to bring in a lot of foot traffic. (They experimented with a popup Kindle shop in San Francisco last year.) In August, a peak number of about 6,000 people per hour passed in front of the H&M on the same block. Amazon has declined to comment on the story. [The Wall Street Journal]
- Girls actress and creator Lena Dunham is the kind of girl to top bestsellers lists with her debut book. Dunham’s collection of personal essays, is currently second on The New York Times bestsellers list for nonfiction, print and ebook sales combined—and No. 1 on the ebook-only nonfiction list. The book sold about 38,000 hardcovers in the week following its release on Sept. 30, according to Nielsen Bookscan (whose data covers approximately 85 percent of all book sales). READ FULL STORY
An annual Publishers Weekly survey of industry employees found that 89 percent of respondents identified as white/caucasian, while 61 percent believe that there is little diversity in publishing. The study found that respondents recognize the direct impact of this racial discrepancy on the industry, agreeing that “[t]he dearth of minority employees directly affects the types of books that are published,” and that to resolve the issue, “there need to be more advocates for books involving people of color throughout the business.”
The survey also re-confirmed the perennial pay gap between men and women in publishing houses, a staggering $25,000 difference— even though women comprise 74 percent of the workforce. Part of this gap is due to unequal pay for similar titles, while part is explained by men’s dominance in higher-salaried management and executive positions. READ FULL STORY
Regan Arts is launching its line of hybrid book/technology products on Oct. 28 with The Virtual Reality Beginners Guide and VR Smartphone Toolkit. The kit contains a 40-page book coauthored by TechCrunch writer Frederic Lardinois and DODOcase founder Patrick Buckley—the novelty is the Google-designed viewer it comes with, which readers will use in conjunction with their smartphone to create a virtual-reality headset. “This title is not just a book, it’s an experience,” a press release states.
Regan Arts, a venture between publisher Phaidon and former HarperCollins executive Judith Regan, says the cardboard head-mount and lenses in the kit will provide a “constantly expanding trove of immersive 3-D virtual experiences” to anybody with a smartphone and $25.95 to spend. “For millions, virtual reality is now accessible at a ridiculously low price,” Buckley said. Regan Arts will make iPhone apps available to power the experience. “Books are the oldest version of virtual reality,” says Regan, and The Virtual Reality Beginners Guide will “bring us beyond the book or screen, and past 3D.” [Publishers Weekly]
On Saturday, Hachette sponsored a lunch organized by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) in honor of author James Patterson. Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch’s remarks to the crowd at the Sheraton Hotel in Norfolk, Virginia. The luncheon took place amid the ongoing Hachette-Amazon negotiations, and Pietsch told the crowd (a collection of independent booksellers and authors), “Thank you for your support during this time. In difficult times you find out who your friends are.” He also noted, “Our sales of print books are up over 2013.”
When Patterson took the floor, he spoke to the issue more directly, chanting, “Go Amazon, Go Amazon. And I mean, Go!” to laughter from the crowd. On a more serious note, he asked, “Why can’t we have more American companies who are also ethical about how they do [business]?” [Publishers Weekly]
Brooklyn-based poet Casey Rocheteau, 29, is the first winner of the Write a House Project, an initiative started to encourage writers to live and work in Detroit. In November, Rocheteau will move into her new home in the recently bankrupt city, where she will live and write as its first official writer-in-residence. The property was in foreclosure until the Write a House Project fixed bought and fixed it up with the help of another local nonprofit. After two years, Rocheteau will receive the deed. “I’m thinking of a city that is currently undergoing this regeneration,” the poet says of Detroit. “It’s a city that’s seen a lot and taken a lot of abuse.” [The Los Angeles Times]
The Rona Jaffe Foundation awarded six writers a $30,000 cash prize at their 2014 Writers’ Award ceremonies in New York City last week. The winning authors are Olivia Clare (fiction), Karen Hays (nonfiction), Danielle Jones-Pruett (poetry), T.L. Khleif (fiction), Mara Naselli (nonfiction), and Solmaz Sharif (poetry). [GalleyCat]
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