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Tag: Publishing Biz (11-20 of 138)

On the Books: Nikki Finke secures book deal with Simon & Schuster

nikki-finke

Simon & Schuster president Johnathan Karp confirmed to The New York Times that Hollywood gossip reporter Nikki Finke has signed a book deal with the publishing house. Karp said he plans to edit the book himself, but declined to share any specifics about the content or release date of the book. “Whenever we publish, the book will be an event,” he said in an email to the Times.

Finke, founder of the gossip website Deadline Hollywood, has been in the line of fire this week—the site NikkiStink.com published an open letter to her, saying she has “threatened and bullied the Hollywood community into providing you information so that you could use it to ridicule, abuse and destroy people.”

Most of the content has now been removed from the site, but it previously cited instances of her incisive written remarks about celebrities from Kate Hudson to Billy Crystal. If her book is as derisive as her gossip reporting, it “will likely be met with dread in movie and television industry circle,” The Times wrote.

Finke also made headlines this week for her involvement in a reported legal dispute with Penske Media Corporation, which in 2009 bought Deadline, which The Times describes as “[one of] the most influential news sites in the movie business.” [The New York Times]

Several Japanese publishers are taking issue with Amazon’s new tactics in their negotiations with them, which are similar to those recently criticized by writers in the U.S. and Germany. According to the Agence France Presse and the Japanese newspaper Asahi, the publishers claim that Amazon is threatening the Japanese publishing industry by pressing for higher commission rates in contract renegotiations. The companies claim that the higher the commission a publishing house pays, the more Amazon will promote their books.

This directly affects book sales in Japan, where Amazon’s market share continues to grow. “Some smaller publishers are facing demands to accept a surge in commission fees,” an anonymous industry source told the AFP. “If this kind of practice continues, small Japanese publishers who have created a diverse publishing culture here will be forced to go bankrupt.” [Business Insider]

Award-winning author Sherman Alexie and bestselling novelist Jess Walter launched a podcast this week, titled “A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment.” Alexie won the U.S. National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in 2007 for “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” a semi-autobiographical novel. Walter wrote this 2012’s bestselling “Beautiful Ruins. “We’re going to talk about everything,” Alexie told the Los Angeles Times. [L.A. Times]

On the Books: Bruce Springsteen's publishing a book about a bank-robbing baby

Outlaw-Pete

The Boss is jumping on the bandwagon of musicians writing children’s books with the November 4 release of Outlaw Pete, a picture book based on his 2009 song of the same name. The book will be composed of Springsteen’s lengthy lyrics about a bank-robbing baby paired with illustrations by cartoonist/author Frank Caruso, according to New York Times.

While it’s being marketed as a picture book for adults, Simon & Schuster president Jonathan Karp said it’s “for readers of all ages.”

“It’s a book for anybody who loves a good Western,” he told The Times. “Obviously, the song it’s based on is for adults. It has an adult sensibility, and so does the book. Outlaw Pete is a quintessentially Springsteen character, brought to life here, and like the song, it’s a meditation on fate. Pete is robbing banks at a very young age, and he does a lot of things he regrets, but as the lyric says, you can’t undo the things you’ve done.”

Fellow musician Keith Richards announced back in March would be writing a children’s book, following in the footsteps of Madonna, Jimmy Buffett, and three of the four Beatles.

On the Books: Soccer star Tim Howard scores book deal

American soccer star and Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard will release a memoir via HarperCollins on Dec. 9. According to a publisher’s statement, The Keeper will include details about both Howard’s professional career and personal life, notably his struggle with Tourette syndrome. Earlier this summer, Howard drew fanfare playing for the U.S. at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, saving a record 16 goals in a game against Belgium. (The U.S. lost 2-1.) The book will be published in both an adult and young-adult version. [The Guardian]

In other soccer-related book news, Zaha Hadid, the notable British-Iraqi architect who designed a stadium for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, is suing the New York Review of Books for defamation and libel. Hadid charges that architecture critic Martin Filler’s review of the book Why We Build: Power and Desire in Architecture, by Rowan Moore, takes her words out of context to portray her as “showing no concern” for the nearly 1,000 migrant workers who have died while constructing stadiums in Qatar—a scandal originally uncovered by The Guardian. The complaint also alleges that construction has not begun on the stadium that Hadid designed. Hadid’s lawyer, Oren Warshavsky, stated that the review, published in June, is “a personal attack disguised as a book review and has exposed Ms. Hadid to public ridicule and contempt.” Hadid is seeking a retraction and damages. [The Guardian]

Former Meet the Press host David Gregory, who was abruptly booted by NBC last week, is writing a book about his personal experience with Judaism, to be published by Simon & Schuster. “The book was never intended as a memoir about his career,” says Simon & Schuster president Jonathan Karp, who has been in talks with Gregory to write a book for several years. “That objective hasn’t changed and will not change,” he continued. “This book will be about the inner spiritual journey many of us take in our lives.” A release date has not yet been announced. [NPR]

 

 

 

On the Books: Orwell estate swings back at Amazon

Bill Hamilton, literary executor of George Orwell’s estate, penned a scathing letter to the editor  in yesterday’s New York Times criticizing Amazon’s misrepresentation of the author in a message the online giant posted on ReadersUnited.com last week. The letter was intended to defend Amazon’s position in its ongoing conflict with publisher Hachette over e-book prices, but Amazon’s choice of words has backfired in an ironic way.

In comparing its current e-book pricing standoff to the resistance Penguin Books faced with the introduction of inexpensive paperback books in the 1930s, Amazon quoted George Orwell “out of context as supporting a campaign to suppress paperbacks,” Hamilton wrote. Hamilton likened Amazon’s subversion of the truth to the propaganda tactics employed by the authoritarian government in Orwell’s famed dystopian novel, 1984.

This is about as close as one can get to the Ministry of Truth and its doublespeak: turning the facts inside out to get a piece of propaganda across,” wrote Hamilton. “It doesn’t say much for Amazon’s regard for truth, or its powers of literary understanding. [NPR] READ FULL STORY

On The Books: Hachette Amazon feud escalates, affecting Rowling and Connelly

The feud between Hachette Book Group and Amazon has intensified. The Los Angeles Times reports that Amazon has taken the pre-order buttons off of big Hachette titles, like The Burning Room by Michael Connelly and The Silkworm by Richard Galbraith, the pen name for J.K. Rowling. This is in addition to allegedly extending back order times for popular books, like Tina Fey’s Bossypants and Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point. Hachette has issued a statement saying they are “sparing no effort and exploring all options” to resolve this conflict, but Amazon has declined to comment. Hachette author James Patterson has been very outspoken about this battle. “What I don’t understand about this particular battle tactic is how it is in the best interest of Amazon customers,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “It certainly doesn’t appear to be in the best interest of authors.” READ FULL STORY

On The Books: Drink your books, a water safety manual doubles as a water filter

drinkable-book.jpg

Some people think of everything, like the folks over at humanitarian group WaterisLife. They wrote a book on water quality, but went the extra mile and made the pages actual water filters that can be torn out and used to treat contaminated water. My first question was: what languages are they printing this in because chances are the people who need this speak only a local dialect. Sure enough they covered that: “Each page of the book is divided by perforation into two squares. The top half has information printed in English, while the bottom half is printed in a locally spoken language. The first run was printed in English and Swahili to be distributed in Kenya, but the goal is to expand printing for languages spoken in all 33 countries where WaterisLife operates.” [Slate] READ FULL STORY

On The Books: Author of Faked Holocaust Memoir Ordered to Pay $22.5 million

In an almost mythological tale of hubris, Misha Defonseca, author of the best-selling Holocaust memoir Misha: A Mémoire of the Holocaust Years, has been ordered to pay her publisher $22.5 million after it was discovered that she faked her entire life story. Before the truth about her past came to light, Defonseca sued her publisher for $32.4 million for “breach of contract for hiding profits from the author.” While researching the book during the trial, the publisher realized that none of the facts checked out and Defonseca ended up confessing that she made the whole thing up. The $22.5 million is Defonseca’s portion of the $32.4 million judgement she won years ago and now must return. By now, the wild tale of a 7-year-old girl who trekked through the snowy wilderness after her parents were taken by Nazis has already been translated into 18 languages and made into a movie. [NY Post]

American teens are reading for pleasure way less than they used to. According to a study conducted by Common Sense Media, almost half of 17-year-olds say they read for pleasure no more than one or two times a year. This decline is happening despite the expanding number of platforms that are available to readers. The study does not link this to the internet directly, but researchers think the distractions from smart phones, infinitely streaming television and the k-hole of YouTube are a likely factor. [NPR]

Freakonomics fans can read an excerpt from Think Like a Freak, the authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner’s newest book about how to problem solve like…a freak. Sample advice: “It’s much better to ask small questions than big ones. Small questions…are virgin territory for true learning.” [Guardian]

Walter Isaacson, the best-selling author and president of the Aspen Institute, will deliver the Jefferson Lecture at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. tonight at 7:30 pm ET. Mr. Isaacson has written biographies of Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin and Steve Jobs, and he will be discussing the lives of all three men during his lecture on “The Intersection of the Humanities and the Sciences.” You can live stream the sold out lecture at the National Endowment for the Humanities website.

On The Books: Publisher accuses Amazon of deliberately delaying shipments of books

The publishing house Hachette Book Group has accused Amazon of deliberately delaying shipments of their books as a negotiation tactic to pressure the publisher into giving Amazon more favorable terms. Amazon has reportedly been marking many books published by Hachette as not available for at least two or three weeks. Titles by Malcolm Gladwell and J.D. Salinger are being delayed. Stephen Colbert’s America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t is listed as three weeks away, while James Patterson’s Alex Cross, Run is listed as a five-week wait. The New York Times reports that over the years Amazon has employed a number of ruthless tactics against publishing houses, even removing the “buy” buttons from some books! [New York Times] READ FULL STORY

On The Books: CIA used 'Dr. Zhivago' as anti-USSR propoganda

When I first read that the CIA used Dr. Zhivago to breakdown the USSR during The Cold War, I assumed that they forced Soviets to watch that movie on repeat as a form of torture. I know, I know, before you get all up in arms about “how wonderful that film is” and “what a classic,” I’m a big fan of Omar Sharif and Alec Guinness (hello, Lawrence of Arabia.) But think about Dr. Zhivago‘s torture potential. No human could watch that 3+ hour Russian downer drama twice in a row without cracking. You would have to have a will of steel not to end up in a ball crying, “The balalaika! It’s always the balalaika!”

But I guess the CIA wasn’t on the same page. According to recently declassified CIA documents, the U.S. government commissioned Russian-language editions of Boris Pasternak’s novel (which Mother Russia had banned) and distributed them to citizens in Moscow. The story largely takes place during the Bolshevik Revolution and dramatizes the casualties of the Communist rising, so the Americans thought it would make great anti-USSR propaganda. We should fight more wars with these kinds of non-lethal weapons. This plot ranks right up there with blue jeans and MTV bringing down the Berlin Wall. [Washington Post]

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On The Books: A Divergent-themed Summer Camp

Every year your parents ship you off to summer camp. You spend a few weeks battling the mosquitoes, swimming in the weedy lake, gorging on s’mores, and acting out bad skits for an audience of loopy counselors and bored campers. (Or maybe your camp experiences were awesome?) Well imagine a summer camp that lets you throw knives at the other kids? Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperille, Illinois landed on the genius idea to host a Divergent-themed summer camp this year, which in my mind means zip lines, trust falls off of abandoned buildings, jumping into moving trains, fighting personal demons in a virtual reality cube, you know, fun kid stuff. (Disclaimer: Anderson’s is not letting your kids do any of these things.)

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