ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas


Amazon Sued For Price Fixing

The suit "alleges that the publishers pay high commissions and other costs to Amazon, which in turn increases the retail price of e-books sold on the platform. The lawsuit claims the five publishers account for 80 percent of books sold in the US, and calls the arrangement a 'conspiracy to fix the retail price of e-books,' which it argues is a violation of antitrust law." - The Verge

Why I Make Undergrads Read Unfinished Novels

Matthew Redmond teaches this class at Stanford in part "to disrupt what seems an obvious distinction between development and result, closure and continuity. On careful inspection, it is surprisingly difficult to tell what makes a novel, or any piece of writing, truly finished." Yet there was another factor this past fall quarter, "a period defined by the constant escalation of COVID-19 deaths and a presidential election in which the losing candidate refused to concede. This was no time for stories that end, happily or otherwise. It was a time for cross-examining our dependence on closure, and for exercising our capacity to function without it." - Literary Hub

Wikipedia @20: A Little Piece Of Utopia Left On The Internet?

As more and more of the internet is consolidated, discredited, and co-opted by capital, Wikipedia begins to look like a vestige of a bygone era. With its volunteer-run editing process and its open-source ethos, the site may be the one success of an early-internet ethos (crowdsourced, democratized information-sharing, with little centralized control) that otherwise has come to look like empty rhetoric. - BookForum

Read (And Watch Again) Amanda Gorman’s Inauguration Poem

Here's the video and the transcript. - The Hill

Google And France Make Deal To Pay News Outlets For Content

"Google and a French publishers' lobby said on Thursday they had agreed a copyright framework under which the U.S. tech giant will pay news publishers for content online, in a first for Europe. The move paves the way for individual licensing agreements for French publications, some of which have seen revenues drop with the rise of the Internet and declines in print circulation." - Reuters

Hungary Orders Warning Labels Put On Books With LGBTQ Content

After the small queer women's publisher Labrisz released a book of fairytales, titled Wonderland Is For Everyone, that includes LGBTQ characters, the right-wing government of Viktor Orbán's Fidesz party ordered Labrisz to affix a sticker saying that the book depicts "behavior inconsistent with traditional gender roles" to every title it publishes to which that statement applies. - Reuters

Here’s One Country Where Print Magazines Have Come Roaring Back From The Dead

Just a year ago, one of New Zealand's largest magazine publishers decided to shut itself off and sell off its titles (if it could), portending doom for the industry. Not only were all the titles sold (and they're still publishing), but a new wave of publications dedicated to New Zealand's tradition of long-form feature journalism. - The Guardian

Dropped By Simon And Schuster, Josh Hawley Finds A New Publisher For His Book

Regnery will publish Hawley's book, titled "The Tyranny of Big Tech," in the spring, according to a news release from the publisher. - CNN

Paris Loses One Of Its Favorite Bookstores

"Gibert Jeune, a popular chain, has announced it will be closing its flagship shop in the Latin Quarter in March – the latest in a series of closures and appeals for help that threaten the future of the city's booksellers. Gibert Jeune once attracted long queues of students in search of cheap secondhand books before the start of each academic year; most students who have studied in Paris will have paid a visit." - The Guardian

We Have So Many Conspiracy Theories Because They’re Stories, And Stories Are How We Live

This is not great. "We are condemned to navigate the Space Age world with Stone Age minds; because of this inherent biological anachronism, man is the ape that imitates, tells stories, and morally condemns others." - LitHub

The Essential Octavia Butler

Of course, if you've already read Parable of the Sower, much of the last four years might have felt a little too eerily familiar. But moving on: "Butler was an observer and ponderer. The probing mind that animates her novels, short stories and essays is obsessed with the viability of the human enterprise. Will we survive our worst habits? Will we change? Do we want to?" (And, also, probably you should start with Kindred.) - The New York Times

Why Do Some Mock Romance So Very Hard When It Sells Better Than Hotcakes Ever Will?

In the UK, for instance, publishing company Mills & Boon (the company that just landed Fergie as an author) publishes 700 books a year and sells one book every 10 seconds or so (and that's only 16 percent of the romances sold per year in the UK). Author "Annie O’Neil, the writer of 25 Mills & Boon books, said people will say to her face that the books are easy to write, that she follows a formula. 'I say to them, ‘Have you ever fallen in love? It must be exactly the same way my husband and I fell in love’ and then they go, ‘Oh … I see what you’re saying.’'" - The Guardian (UK)

The Gatsby Glut

Hurrah for copyright expiration: There are many new editions, with introductions and critical essays by voices that haven't been heard enough in the American canon. Then there are the graphic novels, editions with lavish new art, a novel about Nick Carraway's life before Jay Gatsby, The Gay Gatsby (Just how is that different from the original, you may wonder? It's overt), and, well, vampire Gatsby. We eagerly await the musicals. - The New York Times

The Inaugural Poet, 22 Years Old, Is Probably The Youngest In US History

Amanda Gorman will read a poem called "The Hill We Climb" at the inaugural ceremony on Wednesday (assuming it goes according to plan). "Unlike most 22-year-olds, Gorman has experience in inaugural poetry, having written one for the inauguration of Harvard’s president Larry Bacow." - LitHub

An Author And Editor Says To Stop Thinking Books Have Meaning For Everyone

Megha Majumdar, author of A Burning: "I grew up middle class and I went to school, and from the school bus you’d see kids washing plates in the gutter, working at these little roadside eateries. We had to get school uniforms made, and the tailor’s apprentice would be a person your age. Books are very meaningful to me; at the same time, I believe books do nothing for a lot of people, and that is a very valuable truth too." - The Guardian (UK)

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