At Harper’s, James Marcus reviews Brad Stone’s The Everything Store, a book about online retail giant Amazon and its founder, Jeff Bezos.
Books by Charles Bukowski, Jack Kerouac, Paul Auster, William S. Burroughs, and Don DeLillo are frequently stolen from bookstores, but Melville House’s Claire Kelley reports that the most likely books to be stolen from a library are books about “pregnancy care, dream interpretation and witchcraft.” And also books by Stephen King. Stealing from libraries is particularly sad because the books are free to check out with a library card, and yet it happens.
David Letterman has a satirical book out today called This Land Was Made for You and Me (But Mostly Me), which pokes fun at the 0.1 percent (the tagline for the book is “Billionaires in the Wild”), and talked to the New York Times about it with illustrator Bruce McCall.
Maclean’s has a really lovely piece about adults using children’s books to find comfort. “There are lessons and hope in kids books, unlike self-help books, where adults can find holes in the words,” says a therapist and social worker in the story. I have a copy of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince that my best friend gave me many years ago that I love reading when I’m feeling moody, and anything by Shel Silverstein always lightens things up. Are there any children’s books that you read now that put you in better spirits?
From an interview with J.J. Abrams in the Sunday Book Review. I am also guilty of buying books from a bookstore and then not exactly getting to them but having them pile up.
How much do you spend on books, Chiara Atik?
Noreen Malone profiled Jeremie Ruby-Strauss, an editor at Simon & Schuster, who is best known for getting Tucker Max’s I Hope They Server Beer in Hell on bookshelves. Ruby-Strauss has made a name for himself selling “down-market” books—books by celebrities like Jersey Shore’s Snooki, and various Real Housewives cast members—which often sell quite well and helps a publisher’s bottom line.
Miles Klee took to his Tumblr today to announce that he’s looking for a new literary agent:
“Representation for literary fiction is not typically secured through one’s blog, and I’ll be sending official query letters to several agencies that have expressed interest in my work; nevertheless, I feel it couldn’t hurt to have this pitch out there, on the open market, in case it strikes someone else’s fancy.”
Via Publisher’s Marketplace: “Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman’s 40 DAYS OF DATING: THE BOOK, based on the viral social experiment with 2 million unique visitors, a designed, expanded look at the experiment between two friends and the results, including texts, conversations, artwork, photographs, and details of the romance before, during, and after the experiment that never made it onto the site, to Deborah Aaronson at Abrams, in a pre-empt, for publication in Fall 2014, by CAA. Screen rights previously acquired by Warner Bros.”
Kathy Andersen, author, Change Your Shoes, Live Your Greatest Life.
If you find yourself writing a book review and publishing it on the Internet, chances are that digital marketers will track down your e-mail address and mark you for public-relations campaigns. Being marketers, they’ll know to focus most of their e-mails on books you might want to review. Being digital, they’ll assume that their audience lacks all but the most basic forms of taste and intelligence and may “Care to speak with Sheila on feeling good in the bedroom (in more ways than one)” or want to follow “a wise and wild path for navigating the dating world AFTER Divorce (and in your FORTIES!).” Such is the stupid online marketing of stupid books, the literary equivalent of pop-up ads for penis enhancement and for sexy singles NEAR YOU.
“Mr. Adam Plunkett Freelance Writer,” they will write, “Can we interest you in doing a review of this inspiring and enjoyable children’s book?” This “compelling and inspiring personal story” (“with exceptional expertise“)? This “inspiring children’s book encourages big dreams and confidence.” This “new breed of an erotic novel”—”based heavily on sexting and mysterious hotel encounters” between “Ellie and Monsieur”—is “sharper, sexier, and penetrating” (for the worrisome few of us tired of dull penetration). “With a striking afterword by Jesse Ventura,” this book “will have you realizing that what the government tells you is not always what should be believed.” “The Untold Story of Scarface” will tell you “The real story of how his face was scarred” (“And much, much more!”). This author, “a highly successful Ivy League attorney from Beverly Hills, who’s [sic] book has been described as ‘Sex and the City for the next generation’ would love to discuss with you:”
• Internet dating gone wrong. Real wrong! • Finding true love • Etc.
To stay in business, some independent bookstores are using sites like Indiegogo to raise money from regulars and neighborhood locals—as much as $60,000 in some campaigns. It’s really great to see that kind of support for small business owners, though probably not sustainable. The Times story mentions Book Court in Brooklyn as one of the indie bookstores that have managed to thrive and expand, though it doesn’t say how it has done so. It should! Those kinds of stories are always worth sharing.