This week! Books!
First up, some stats that are as bracing as the January weather outside (not really, I live in Southern California) to kick off our roundup. A full 46% of Americans did not finish a book last year and 5% more read just one, so if you read two books you’re in the top half of American readers. If you read more than fifty, congrats you’re a book one per-center! Meanwhile, 42% read on paper, 22% digital, and 19% audiobooks, with e-books attracting the heaviest readers.
Lincoln Michel dives a level below the stats and notes that while it’s a tad obscured how they categorize the genres, a quite robust 12% of readers read literary fiction–the same as the number that read science fiction and more than the 11% who read romance–puncturing some of the “we write books people actually read” sneers among certain genre enthusiasts.
Back in December, Maris Kreizman took stock of the pervasive issues at Goodreads and wrote, quite accurately, “You might wonder if Goodreads isn’t just an enabler of scandal but the problem itself” and declares “Goodreads is broken.” I would add: Goodreads has been broken. This has been going on for years and years. Maris is right. We all deserve better, Goodreads and Amazon.
And speaking of Amazon, Sandeep Vaheesan and Tara Pincock make the case that it has a monopolistic death grip on the publishing industry.
In legal news, the latest lawsuit against OpenAI and Microsoft for plagiarism is brought to you by the New York Times, an Iowa judge tossed most of Iowa’s book banning law, and along those lines, the lawsuits against the book banners are gaining traction.
Did you watch the classic sci fi horror movie Alien with Sigourney Weaver and think to yourself, “This would make a terrific children’s book?” … No? Well you just lack the vision of Little Golden Books, which will be releasing an adaptation called A Is for Alien: An ABC Book this summer.
Gal Beckerman makes the case that it takes a village to create a book and, accordingly, there should be a credits section for the various people who worked on it. I endorse this plan.
Literary agent Laurie McLean has some fascinating predictions for publishing in 2024.
And Lincoln Michel makes a case for your narrator being a weirdo.
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:
- Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros
- Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros
- The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride
- Icebreaker by Hannah Grace
- First Lie Wins by Ashley Elston
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
- Oath and Honor by Liz Cheney
- The Wager by David Grann
- Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
- The Woman in Me by Britney Spears
Young adult hardcover:
- Ruthless Vows by Rebecca Ross
- Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross
- Murtaugh by Christopher Paolini
- Powerless by Lauren Roberts
- A Fragile Enchantment by Allison Saft
Middle grade hardcover:
- The Sun and the Star by Rick Riordan and Mark Oshiro
- Wonka by Sibéal Pounder
- Wings of Fire: A Guide to the Dragon World by Tui T. Sutherland
- The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs by America’s Test Kitchen Kids
- The Harry Potter Wizarding Almanac by J.K. Rowling
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, Jessica Boyall uses an incredible survey of journals and illustrations from whaling ships to chronicle the history of whaling in Nantucket, which pairs nicely with this Thom Browne Moby-Dick coat.
Have a great weekend!
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