This week! Books!
First up, we continue to live in a golden age for scammers, and Anne R. Allen has an important post about a new, more polished publishing trap: the book to film scam, where a “film scout” suggests you pay for a new screenplay or treatment so they can shop it to streaming services.
Google AI programmer Blake Lemoine was suspended after publicly claiming that the AI he was working on became sentient. The conversation is rather eerie indeed and startled many a writer-friend of mine, although in my opinion the AI sounds more like a college student who smoked a bowl after reading Sartre than something genuinely insightful.
Count me in the “have you tried unplugging it?” camp when it comes to overblown ƒears of future sentient AI overlords, but it’s undeniable that the latest AIs can produce impressively complex (if still-hollow-feeling) prose. Ian Bogost shares my skepticism, and points out that the greater danger is the desperation of people who should know better to treat programs like this as if they are real.
Every five years or so the publishing industry decides that what everyone really needs is a good book discoverability service, and Alexandra Alter and Elizabeth A. Harris survey the latest entrants. I agree with Jesse Doogan’s take: book discoverability is a problem for publishers, who increasingly struggle to break out new frontlist titles, more than it’s a problem for readers, who are constantly bombarded with recommendations. How often do readers really struggle with what to read next? Maybe like once or twice a year? How do you build a business around that?
And in industry news, United Talent Agency is acquiring Curtis Brown UK (note: separate company from Curtis Brown Ltd. in the US). And a United States District Court judge ruled Maryland’s library e-book law unconstitutional. The law would have required publishers to offer libraries e-books on “reasonable terms” if they offered the e-books to consumers, a direct response to Macmillan’s now-abandoned policy to delay licensing new e-books to libraries.
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:
- It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
- Sparring Partners by John Grisham
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
- Verity by Colleen Hoover
- Book Lovers by Emily Henry
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- James Patterson by James Patterson
- Killing the Killers by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
- Happy-Go-Lucky by David Sedaris
- The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk
- Finding Me by Viola Davis
Young adult hardcover:
- Family of Liars by E. Lockhart
- Loveless by Alice Oseman
- One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
- I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston
- Forging Silver Into Stars by Brigid Kemmerer
Middle grade hardcover:
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
- Refugee by Alan Gratz
- Skandar and the Unicorn Thief by A.F. Steadman
- The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera
- Ground Zero by Alan Gratz
This week on the blog
In case you missed them, here are this week’s posts:
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, it still blows my mind that there’s a spinning core of iron the size of Pluto at center of the Earth, and new research shows that it oscillates in a way that affects the length of days.
Have a great weekend!
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