This week! Books!
Big news this week as the Department of Justice sued to block the proposed merger between Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster. If the merger went through, Random Penguin Simon Schuster’s House (or something) would be by far the biggest publisher, with a market share of 50%.
The lawsuit takes an interesting approach in that it sidesteps the typical barometer for antitrust suits, which tend to focus on consumer harm, and instead focuses on the potential harm for authors, who could see advances and contract terms squeezed. Penguin Random House has pledged that imprints will still be allowed to bid against each other for projects up to a certain seven figure threshold, but the lawsuit notes that this is an unenforceable promise and relies essentially on Random Penguin Simon Schuster’s House operating out of the goodness of their hearts instead of shareholder return.
Needless to say, this is a hugely important case that the industry will be following very closely.
Congrats to Damon Galgut, who won the prestigious Booker Prize for his novel The Promise!
I’ve never been one to get all nostalgic about sniffing books for that old book smell, and I now feel even more justified. As an article by Jude Stewart points out, scientifically speaking, you’re smelling your book’s decay. You’re welcome. (Don’t worry all you sniffers, the article still extolls the benefits of book sniffing).
Your latest supply chain article is brought to you by the AV Club, who takes a look at how bookstores are adjusting.
And in writing advice news, Sarah Penner talks about the art of the cliffhanger, September Fawkes talks about how to showcase your character’s voice, and agents Jessica Faust and James McGowan discuss how agents view comp titles.
This week in bestsellers
Here are the top five NY Times bestsellers in a few key categories. (All links are affiliate links):
Adult print and e-book fiction:
- Better Off Dead by Lee Child and Andrew Child
- The Judge’s List by John Grisham
- Dune by Frank Herbert
- The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles
- The Wish by Nicholas Sparks
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- Going There by Katie Couric
- Renegades by Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen
- Best Wishes, Warmest Regards by Daniel Levy and Eugene Levy
- Not All Diamonds and Rosé by Dave Quinn
- The Storyteller by Dave Grohl
Young adult hardcover:
- One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
- Kingdom of the Cursed by Kerri Maniscalco
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- Aristotle and Dante Dive Into the Waters of the World by Benjamin Alire Saenz
- These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
Middle grade hardcover:
- The Christmas Pig by J.K. Rowling. Illustrated by Jim Field
- Daughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
- Refugee by Alan Gratz
- Pony by R.J. Palacio
This week on the blog
In case you missed them, here are this week’s posts:
- Should you write quickly or slowly? Yes.
- How to research your characters
- Voice and smooth writing goes a long way (query critique)
Don’t forget that you can nominate your first page and query for a free critique on the blog:
And keep up with the discussion in all the places!
And finally, particularly in the last year our collective and individual energies took a hit, and I really enjoyed this article by Nick Paumgarten that searches for that elusive quality that gives certain people vim and the new science that seeks to harness it.
Have a great weekend!
Need help with your book? I’m available for manuscript edits, query critiques, and coaching!
For my best advice, check out my online classes, my guide to writing a novel and my guide to publishing a book.
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