This week! Books!
After first releasing a now-deleted defense of bringing her eponymous show back despite an ongoing writers strike, Drew Barrymore summoned every bit of astute humility she possessed and found the hoped for resolve by pausing her talk show until the strike is over. And about that strike: WGA and the studios have been holding marathon talks of late, but as of this writing there is still no deal.
There has been a ton of speculation about what private equity giant KKR plans to do with Simon & Schuster, and Megan Greenwell went straight to the source in an interview with Pete Stavros, KKR’s co-head of global private equity, who talked about KKR’s approach to giving employees an ownership stake, their success with carveouts (buying a division that was neglected because it wasn’t core to the parent company’s business), a claim that they wouldn’t invest in a company “where the strategy is to get profit dollars up by firing people” then promptly admitted they’d shutter underperforming imprints, as well as some obligatory corporate pablum like “the key to being successful is going to be making it so the best editors and the best writers want to work with Simon & Schuster.”
In other words, the mystery here about what they really plan to do and how they plan to maximize their return feels very much alive.
A US District Court judge smacked down Texas’s idiotic “READER” law, which would have required retailers to rate books based on incoherent content criteria, writing “READER’s requirements for vendors are so numerous and onerous as to call into question whether the legislature believed any third party could possibly comply.” Do better, Texas.
Your latest lawsuit against OpenAI for copyright infringement is brought to you by John Grisham, Jonathan Franzen, Elin Hilderbrand, and the Authors Guild, among others.
Meanwhile, Katy Hershberger at Publishers Lunch has a well-reported article on how HarperCollins is already testing using AI for in-house processes, including via a Chat-HCP tool, for things like translation, image creation in manga, marketing copy, synopses, and metadata. Other publishers seem to be taking a more cautious approach at the moment, and at least one HarperCollins employee has already raised ethical concerns.
Upstart online bookseller Bookshop.org, which donates a portion of its profits to independent bookstores, will soon be testing e-book sales.
Another upstart online bookseller called Amazon.com is removing its longstanding “look inside” feature, and Anne R. Allen is a bit horrified by the “resistance is futile” response among Amazon apologists.
Ashley Fetters Maloy stepped into a blast from a literary past: Gay Talese’s glittering book party.
And Norway’s Epos library boat, which delivers books and cultural performances to remote villages through Norway’s famous fjords, is every bit as awesome as it sounds.
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:
- Vince Flynn: Code Red by Kyle Mills
- Holly by Stephen King
- Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros
- 23 1/2 Lies by James Patterson
- Things We Left Behind by Lucy Score
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- Elon Musk by Walter Isaacson
- Counting the Cost by Jill Duggar with Derick Dillard and Craig Borlase
- Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
- Outlive by Peter Attia with Bill Gifford
- The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk
Young adult hardcover:
- Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross
- This Winter by Alice Oseman
- The Spirit Bares its Teeth by Andrew Joseph White
- Foxglove by Adalyn Grace
- Solitaire by Alice Oseman
Middle grade hardcover:
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
- Refugee by Alan Gratz
- A Horse Named Sky by Rosanne Parry
- The Sun and the Star by Rick Riordan and Mark Oshiro
- The Official Harry Potter Cookbook by Joanna Farrow
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, Franz Liszt has long been known as a flamboyant virtuoso more than a respected composer, but I really enjoyed this reappraisal by Alex Ross, who notes that Liszt was remarkably humble for someone with his reputation (even if he was quite the deadbeat father), and his compositions were way ahead of their time.
Have a great weekend!
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