April 15, 2015

patti coverHarperCollins has agreed to terms with Amazon on a new e-book deal, dispelling a rumor that the publisher was refusing to sign the contract. Like other major publishers, HarperCollins will set their own e-book prices, with Amazon appending a passive-aggressive note to the listing.

Rights to Harper Lee’s new book, Go Set a Watchman, have been sold in twenty-five countries so far, but foreign publishers must contend with strict security to get a look at the book. Lee’s agent, Andrew Nurnberg, is asking these publishers to travel to his London office and read the manuscript, saying, “We don’t wish to sell this book blind . . . Not least because there has been a fair amount of nonsense in the press by a few people who seem determined to question the motivation of selling it, and to belittle its literary merits, without having read a single word.”

The American Library Association released its annual list of Frequently Challenged Books (the ones people have tried most often to ban or restrict in schools and libraries), and apparently what the majority of this year’s have in common is “diverse content”. Vice looks on the bright side, wondering if the increase in those kinds of complaints might just mean more Americans are reading diversely: “Maybe more cool kids are reading Persepolis (number-two challenged) and more uptight parents are writing in to ban it. Is that too hopeful?”

Patti Smith, whose memoir Just Kids won a 2010 National Book Award, has written a sequel, which will be published by Knopf in October. Whereas Just Kids, which recounted the author’s relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, captured Smith’s life as she was becoming an artist, the new book, M Train, appears to be a rangier set of reflections on art. According to a press release, the book moves “from Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul in Mexico, to a meeting of an Arctic explorer’s society in Berlin; from the ramshackle seaside bungalow in New York’s Far Rockaway that Smith buys just before Hurricane Sandy hits, to the graves of Genet, Plath, Rimbaud, and Mishima.”

At the Daily Dot, a look behind the self-declared “front page of the internet”: are power-hungry Reddit mods ruining it for the rest of us, and if so, will the site eventually go the way of Digg? Meanwhile, the Ezra Klein-Nate Silver spat may be set to continue as they nestle side by side at the top of a new list of Twitter’s most influential political journalists. It’s a pretty long list: if you want to know if you’ve made it, Dylan Byers of Politico says you can check in with him by email.

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