On the Books: Authors United warns Amazon, watch your reputation
The 1,100 member group Authors United posted a letter of direct appeal to Amazon’s board of directors—urging them to end their book-pricing standoff with publisher Hachette, which has hurt some authors’ book sales.
The letter warns the board that their reputation may be at stake: “[I]f this is how Amazon continues to treat the literary community, how long will the company’s fine reputation last?” The appeal continues, noting similar disputes “have a long and ugly history,” and asking, “Do you, personally, want to be associated with this?” For months, Amazon has delayed shipments of books by Hachette authors and removed the preorder option for those titles in an attempt to force Hachette to lower its e-book prices. [NPR]
Oscar Pistorius’ manager Peet van Zylback backtracked on his suggestion that Pistorius is writing a memoir about the night he shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. “He will write his own book. We’ve discussed it,” van Zylback was quoted as saying in The Observer. He now claims, however, that his words were taken out of context and meant to be hypothetical. Last week, the double-amputee runner and South African Olympian was found not guilty of premeditated murder, but guilty of culpable homicide.
E-books are becoming more friendly to poetry, a genre slow to make the shift from paper to digital. The text formatting of poetry, including spacing and line breaks, can be integral to the rhythm of a poem—but is often lost when works are digitized. After complaints from poets and meager sales, publishers are now creating digital versions that preserve the exact format of the poems. [The New York Times]
The National Book Foundation released the long-list for the $10,000 Young People’s Literature award. The candidates for the other categories will be announced throughout the week. The NBF will announce finalists in mid-October, and award the winners at the National Book Awards ceremony on Nov. 19.
The New York Times is adding new book categories to the Bestsellers Lists, its well regarded book sales benchmarks. New categories include Family, Animals, Humor and Travel. The Times will also migrate some of its online-only lists to the print version of the paper, including the Politics and Food bestsellers. [Publishers Weekly]