Amanda Knox got a $4 million book deal. Let's move on.
No, on second thought, let's not move on. $4 million?!?! To put that in perspective, that is somewhere in between what Dick Cheney got for his memoir and what George W. Bush got for his. While selling foreign and other subsidiary rights will surely help make up some of that total, the book is going to have to sell a ton ton ton ton ton of copies in order to turn a profit. And let's be honest about what's going to happen when that book comes out: Blogs will immediately summarize the juicy parts (if any) so you don't have to read it. Are people really going to buy that book in huge numbers no matter how much is revealed?
In the immortal words of Chris Webber: good luck.
Meanwhile, self-publishing maven J.A. Konrath launched another broadside against the publishing industry, contrasting it with the atmosphere he witnessed while meeting with Amazon. I don't always agree with Konrath, but in this case I think his questions for the industry are spot-on. Is the publishing industry going to dig in to protect the past or are they going to innovate for the future?
You may have heard the news that Penguin is withdrawing its e-books from libraries, a decision that I honestly do not understand save for vague references to library e-distributor Overdrive's association with Amazon. A librarian took to PW to decry the decision.
Publishing industry sage Mike Shatzkin has marked the halfway point through the publishing digital revolution. If you want a great summary of where we are now, this is the post to read.
Some very sad news from the Middle East, where incredible reporter and author Anthony Shadid passed away way too soon from an apparent asthma attack. He was only 43.
In list news, Scholastic and Parent & Child Magazine released a list of the top 100 children's books, and Belgian artist Tom Haentjens is asking people to re-design the covers for a list of the top 100 novels.
This week in the Forums: what's your day job, remembering Jeffrey Zaslow, your most anticipated 2012 releases, and what's your favorite book on the craft of writing?
Comment! of! the! Week! Perennial contender Bryan Russell knocked it out of the park on yesterday's post on lit writers and technophobia:
The internet is the home of mass consumption and mass culture - the common denominator (sometimes the lowest common denominator) is what makes it big on the internet.And finally, all the proof you need that nerds now rule the world:
And that is not (typically) literary fiction. It's more of a niche market, these days, and is somewhat reliant on traditional forums that support it as important culture.
I think literary writers are probably a little fearful of the literary free-for-all of the internet, of being a small fish in a really big media pond. There's no Amanda Hocking self-pub success stories among literary writers, at least that I've heard of (though I'm sure there's a few doing well in this new market).
I think the old system supported literary fiction, both in terms of exposure and financial support. It was assured a place at the table. The new system? Nothing is guaranteed. And that's probably pretty scare at a time when mass culture seems to be moving ever further away from literary fiction (at least in North America).
Have a great weekend!