Dog-Eared and Dispatched: May 10, 2015
As spring fades to summer and the country responds to political campaigns, race relations, and international affairs, the book industry is following suit with a week’s worth of social justice updates from a theft in Colombia to publicity for feminist and diversity campaigns. Our footnotes similarly reflect an activist interest with McSweeney’s Kickstarter launches and Kelly Brown Douglas’ Stand Your Ground pubs while the U.N. reads more comics. Intrigued yet? Read? Set? Read!
The Bogota’s book fair in Colombia has captured public attention. This year’s festival served to specifically honor the recently passed Gabriel Garcia Márquez, and during the celebration, a signed first edition of One Hundred Years of Solitude was stolen. The novel, valued at $23,000, was mysteriously taken out of the locked and guarded case of collector, Alvaro Castillo. Despite the high retail value of the book, Castillo insists the artifact has far more sentimental value. Colombian authorities are threatening six to twenty years of jail time for the thief, as well as serious legal action against anyone attempting to purchase the book online. [Publishers Weekly, US News, Bustle, the Guardian]
The iconic feminist book and craft retailer, Womencrafts in Provincetown, Massachusetts is changing hands. For the past sixteen years Kathryn Livelli has owned and operated the store, selling literature and gifts that support female artisans, writers, and musicians. The store has been lesbian-owned since 1976 and will continue to be. Michelle Axelson is purchasing the business from Livelli and plans to increase the product offerings and community events. This transition and expansion signals a new chapter for this important business and others like it. Axelson has said: “My journey as a women and as a lesbian has been made easier by institutions like Womencrafts and women like Kathryn Livelli. I am inspired by the shop’s history and excited to keep it dynamic and relevant for generations to come.” Womencrafts is one of the few feminist bookstores still in operation. [GalleyCat, Publishers Weekly, Publishers Lunch]
During the Publishers Weekly co-hosted reception for the ABC Institute in Pasadena, California,the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign got some deserved attention. The campaign was founded by Ellen Oh in response to 2014’s whitewashed BookCon events. Oh honored the work and writings of Walter Dean Myers who continues to champion multiculturalism in children’s literature. The next day, multiple panels covered various topics and best practices for empowering literature with increased diversity in every step of the publishing and retail processes. Panel attendees included booksellers who were challenged to consider how their inventories and community events will better serve what Jewell Parker Rhodes, author of Bayou Magic, calls the next “civil rights frontier.” In the conference’s closing address, Rhodes called for a space in children’s publishing that offers more than just “white discourse as the imaginative realm, the imagined language of America.” [Shelf Awareness, Publisher’s Weekly,]
- Twitter gets big play this week with J.K. Rowling tweeting about the sorrowful loss of Fred Weasley, and book pitching gets shorter (and maybe sweeter) with the #PitMad campaign where writers use Twitter to pitch their completed manuscripts in 140 characters.
- Summer reading campaigns begin to ramp up with short stories from Scholastic with rewards based on tracking the minutes dedicated.
- Like any modern nonprofit, McSweeney’s launches their well-publicized Kickstarter campaign.
- The National Association of College Stores is dropping the suit concerning Amazon’s contract with Purdue.
- Washington, D.C.’s First Book and generous corporate partners provide 60,000 books for children in need.
- Bocabel, an online store for self-published titles launched on May 5th.
- Comics get a push from the U.N. as a tool for communicating global objectives.
- Kelly Brown Douglas’ Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God has been published alongside the protests in Baltimore.
- Upcoming book to film adaptations include Brave New World and yet another John Green title.
- Tired of the unending archeological unearthing of literary treasures? Well, here is another! Over one hundred Twain stories have been discovered at UC Berkeley.