It’s very popular to wring your hands over the death of the book (and the industries that go along with it), but publishing isn’t actually doing as badly as many people think, writes Evan Hughes at the New Republic. At the end of the day, books are still products that people want to purchase—in print or digitally—and the numbers bear that out. Since 2008, “e-book revenue has skyrocketed—by more than 4,500 percent. Just as important, the boom has come at surprisingly little expense to higher- priced hardcovers and paperbacks, sales of which are only slightly down.”
Lore Segal talks death, fairy tales, and porcelain pigs with the New York Observer. For more on Segal, who escaped Nazi Austria as a child and went on to write numerous books (including the beloved satire of the writing life, Lucinella), read Emily Cooke’s review of Half the Kingdom in the latest issue of Bookforum.
Debut novelist Emily Schultz is learning the hard way—through a flood of negative Amazon reviews—that it’s not a good idea to give your book the same title as a Stephen King flop.
Canadian novelist Alice Munro has won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Described by the Swedish academy as a “master of the short story,” Munro announced her retirement from writing earlier this year after the publication of her fourteenth short story collection. And we hate to disappoint her 1,386 Twitter followers, but Munro has most likely not signed up for the service. The Atlantic Wire speculates that the rather anodyne account is the handiwork of one Tommaso de Benedetti, “a Rome teacher and dad who has semi-successfully faked the deaths of Fidel Castro, Pedro Almodóvar, and the Pope.”
After attending panels on “metadata, start-ups, supply chains, responsive content, libraries, bookselling, print business models,” and more at the Frankfurt Book Fair, Virginia Quarterly Review web editor Jane Friedman concludes that the most important thing booksellers need to be thinking about today is the future of self-publishing.
In related news, a new survey by Bowker finds that more than 391,000 books were self-published in 2012—a 59 percent leap from the previous year.