• September 4, 2013

    The new Bookforum is among us. Available online: Ed Park’s review of Thomas Pynchon’s new novel of Uptown Manhattan and the Deep Web, and Mary Gaitskill’s meditation on what’s truly disturbing about Gone Girl.

    In the olden days, public intellectuals would hold court in magazines and newspapers, and scholars would publish in scholarly journals and with university presses. Today, Jill Lepore notes in the Chronicle of Higher Education,”‘writing for the public’ is … a fairly meaningless thing to say. Everyone who tweets ‘writes for the public.’ Lectures are posted online. So are papers. Most of what academics produce can be found, by anyone who wants to find it, by searching Google. These shifts have made exchanging ideas easier, faster, cheaper, and less dependent on publishers—and even less accountable to readers.” Lepore considers the implications of this “new economy of letters.”

    Sergio de la Pava talks with the New York Daily News about the unexpected success of his recent novel A Naked Singularity, which he originally published through XLibris and was later picked up by the University of Chicago Press.

    Jeff Bezos is paying his first visit to the Washington Post, a day after told the paper what was on his mind for the future: “We’ve had three big ideas at Amazon that we’ve stuck with for 18 years, and they’re the reason we’re successful: Put the customer first. Invent. And be patient,” he said. “If you replace ‘customer’ with ‘reader,’ that approach, that point of view, can be successful at The Post, too.'”

    New WaPo owner Jeff Bezos

    Have you ever wondered why e-books aren’t included with the purchase of a physical book? Amazon, apparently has, and on Tuesday, they rolled out Matchbooks, a new feature that gives shoppers the opportunity to get a free e-book (or buy it at a discounted price) with the purchase of a print book. But as the Atlantic Wire points out, when you crunch the numbers, it’s often cheaper just to buy the e-book alone.

    Rivka Galchen, Mohsin Hamid, Zoë Heller, Anna Holmes, Adam Kirsch, Daniel Mendelsohn, Pankaj Mishra, Francine Prose, Dana Stevens, and Jennifer Szalai: The New York Times Book Review unveils an all-star team of columnists for their new Bookends feature, which features pairs of writers contributing essays about different topics.

    In the latest issue of Harvard Magazine, Nathan Heller profiles Arion, a high-end letterpress that produces books worth at thousands of dollars. At the Boston Globe, Kevin Harnett muses about “how to situate” Arion’s wares: “Is a $4,000 version of Don Quixote, bound in three-piece goatskin, a luxury commodity like a Rolex, or a work of art whose price tag is just a vulgar proxy for its real value?”

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