Dog-Eared and Dispatched: February 8, 2015
Welcome back for another look into book industry news. The big issue this week is authors’ rights, especially as they play a part in the upcoming publication of Harper Lee’s second book (and first novel), Go Set a Watchman. Since we didn’t have any footnotes last week, we are going overboard with them this, on topics ranging from library lootings to romance novels. Ready? Read on!
The biggest literary news of the week is that, after more than fifty years, Harper Lee is going to publish a second book – and it is actually the novel she wrote before To Kill a Mockingbird: “After much thought and hesitation I shared [Go Set a Watchman] with a handful of people I trust and was pleased to hear that they considered it worthy of publication.” The manuscript for Go Set a Watchman (forthcoming in July 2015 from HarperCollins), was “lost,” but Tanja Carter, Lee’s “lawyer and friend” happened to “stumble upon it” in a “secure location.” According to a statement given by Carter, Lee “is alive and kicking and happy as hell” about the book, while Lee says of the book that she is “humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years.” Although many readers (and accountants) are excited about the forthcoming “sequel” to To Kill a Mockingbird, some are suspicious that Lee may have been taken advantage of by unscrupulous third parties (as happened in 2013, when her then-agent convinced her to sign over the rights to To Kill a Mockingbird to him – she successfully sued him and got them back). Despite these doubts, though, the book will undoubtedly be a success – which is great, so long as the answer to the question cui bono? includes Harper Lee. [Publishers Weekly, ABC News, Reuters, New York Times, Jezebel, New York Times, MobyLives!]
- ISIS forces ransacked the Central Library in Mosul in January, purging books that did not suit their ideology (including children’s books).
- The longshoremen working West Coast ports have been on a work slowdown since summer 2014 – as a result, books printed in Asia (and quite a few are, especially if they are in color) take twice as long to reach the distributors.
- According to the Association of American Publishers, trade book sales were up 3.7% in 2014.
- Why don’t more Americans read works in translation? Well, it’s complicated, but mostly because publishers can’t afford to translate things.
- Grove Atlantic is launching a new review/literary platform/literary “hub” called, you guessed it, lithub.
- On loving reading: “in an appreciative, literary age, the most important books are the ones that have outlasted their eras, and the “best” readers are people who are especially susceptible to emanations from other times and places. Being a reader becomes an identity unto itself. A reader is unsatisfied with the present and yearns for something more. She finds it by cultivating intimate relationships with kindred spirits from another time.”
- On creating great poetry, or men behaving badly.
- Tracking its customers’ purchases – and for once sharing the data – Amazon reveals the top twenty US cities most in need of romance.
- Eleanor Catton criticized the government of New Zealand; the government of New Zealand defensively overreacted; Catton’s point: proved.