This was quite an epic week in publishing, and on top of this epic week I still have a couple of leftover weeks because I haven’t done a link roundup in a while, so… buckle up, everyone! We’re going for a long drive together.
But first, this week in the forums we are busy discussing: Do you have a rejection contingency plan?, What is Literary YA?, What writing disorder do you suffer from? Do men read less fiction than ever? and, of course, what in the heck happened this week on Lost?
The big news this week, as we all know, is the Amazon/Macmillan kerflareup. If you have been on the moon the last few days, welcome back and here’s basically what happened: Macmillan wants to set their own retail prices to open up the marketplace and are willing to accept less per copy to make this happen. Amazon wants to be able to sell books as cheaply as they want. The Kindle Missile Crisis ensued and Amazon took down buy button links for nearly all Macmillan titles for both print and e-books. Since all that went down, buy buttons have not yet been fully restored, and meanwhile, Macmillan released a full page ad for THE CHECKLIST MANIFESTO that very prominently says: “Available at booksellers everywhere except Amazon.” Yowch.
Also since the announcement, in a letter to agents Hachette CEO David Young announced that they too would be adopting the agency model and Newscorp CEO Rupert Murdoch (owner of HarperCollins) spoke out against the $9.99 price point. Meanwhile, lurking behind all of these discussions is the iPad – Carolyn Kellogg at LA Times’ Jacket Copy has a great analysis of whether the iPad and the iBooks store will challenge Amazon (plus some good Apple DRM info for the DRM/anti-DRM junkies out there), and the Associated Press wonders if people will be confused by different proprietary e-book formats.
Whew! Want more e-book news? CAUSE THERE’S MORE.
Ad Age thinks ahead to a future in which advertising agencies could enter the publishing industry with book products on the iPad (via my colleague Katherine Arathoon), Mike Shatzkin ponders whether free promotional e-books are a good idea or not (short version: short term/individual author yes, long term/industry wide no), and Steve Ross surveys some of the digital issues facing the publishing industry as discussed at the recent Digital Book World conference.
And last but not least in really huge e-book news, the Justice Department took a look at the proposed (revised) Google Settlement agreement and said, “Nuh uh.” Their concern: that the agreement “still confers significant and possibly anticompetitive advantages on Google as a single entity.”
In “Hey people, paper books still exist ya know” news, The Millions has a really cool post dedicated to deckle edge pages, the rough edges of some books that give them an old-fashioned feel, reader Emma Michaels has a DIY guide to giving books new covers and restoring old books, and the Guardian reminds us that the print book’s obituary has been written many times before and guess what they’re still here (via Neil Vogler in the forums).
The Wall Street Journal recently had a fascinating history and update on The Slush Pile as it continues to move from editors’ desks to agents’ (via HuffPo), starting with Anne Frank all the way to Stephenie Meyer.
I had a fabulous time this past weekend at the Austin SCBWI Destination Publication Conference where I met lots of fabulous and talented individuals! The indispensable Cynthia Leitich has a roundup of the conference roundups.
In agent advice news, Janet Reid has an awesome checklist of things you need before you query, divided between fiction/memoir/nonfiction, Jessica Faust at BookEnds writes that unless each book can really truly stand alone, it’s probably not a good idea to write a sequel to an unpublihsed first book in a trilogy, and Rachelle Gardner surveys ten query mistakes.
ALA awards announced, including Newbery, Caldecott, Printz and much more! Congrats to all the winners and finalists.
You probably heard that J.D. Salinger passed away last week, but we also recently lost beloved long time Curtis Brown client Louis Auchincloss as well as the scholar Howard Zinn. GalleyCat has a roundup of tributes.
In The Life of Writing news, Bryan Russell/Ink has a great post on the simultaneous necessity and difficulty of considering your audience,
The Rejectionist and boss received 537 queries last month, a record for them (I’ve been blowing past query records as well). Le R has, as always, some hilarious stats on the themes and categories.
As many have deduced from the title of my novel I am a massive, massive Calvin & Hobbes fan, and the ever-reclusive Bill Watterson turned up this week for an interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Which I devoured faster than you can say Hamster Huey and the Gooey Kablooie.
The kind Stephen Parrish pointed me to a survey that says that people refuse to cut back on books even during the recession. The poll then inexplicably moves on to address attitudes toward cheating on spouses and sabotaging coworkers. Um. Wow. Maybe they’re reading the wrong books?
And finally, as you know this was a huge week for publishing news, but the great Jeff Abbott (who is celebrating a new book deal!) pointed me to the biggest, most massively epic publishing news of all: Makers Mark is releasing a new bourbon. Now I have to decide whether I’m going to wait in line for two months for the iPad or the new Makers. Hmmmm….. Choices choices……
Have a great weekend!