The New Republic’s publisher, Chris Hughes, is getting backlash from a bunch of white guys and yaaaaaaawwwwwnnnnn… Oh, I know already that that first sentence is exactly the kind of youthful, web-influenced repartée about which the now-former editors of The New Republic are experiencing such fist-shaking outrage. I’m not, in the words of Lloyd Grove’s puff piece on the house-clearing at TNR, a “belle-lettrist.” That’s all right.
Some background, and I’ll try to be brief, because this truly is boring and irrelevant, and has absolutely no impact on anything of serious import in the world: Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook, bought The New Republic in 2012. Hughes is 31 and, clearly, interested in digital strategy. He’s publisher and editor-in-chief of the magazine. Keep reading »
There’s a strange, magical little corner of Twitter and the rest of the Internet you may not have heard of unless you’re an author or an enthusiastic reader: the world of book bloggers. It’s where people get together for Twitter parties, hold cover reveals on their favorite blogs, and connect with readers on Tumblr. It’s also where some of most vicious, bizarre, and chilling wars of the Internet take place, all beneath a facade of politeness because everyone is too terrified to say anything for fear of jeopardizing their position in the publishing industry or their role in the book blogger hierarchy. Keep reading »
You might have seen Stephen Colbert’s take on the Amazon vs. Hachette debacle, or you might have seen articles floating around Facebook, or friends declaring that they’re not buying books from Amazon anymore. What’s the big deal, right?
Here’s what’s happening: Hachette is a gigantic publisher — right up there with Harper Collins, Macmillan, Penguin, and Simon and Schuster — and it owns a huge imprint, Little Brown and Company. Amazon wanted to slash prices on books published by Hachette and its imprints, and Hachette refused to undersell its product, so Amazon resorted to bullying tactics: removing “Buy” buttons from Hachette book pages, suggesting that customers buy the books from used book stores (authors receive no royalties from used books), enlarging links to similar titles from different publishers, delaying shipments by 3-4 weeks, or claiming not to be able to sell titles at all — anything to decrease the sales of Hachette titles until Hachette caves. Keep reading »
A few months ago the author Jonathan Franzen published his novel, Freedom, and among bookworms, it was like a new “Star Wars” movie being released or Angelina Jolie popping out another baby. Not only did President Obama make headlines for snagging an advanced copy to read on vacation, but Franzen made the prestigious New York Times book review not once, but twice, in a single week. That was all too much for author Jodi Picoult. “Is anyone shocked?” she tweeted, no doubt rolling her eyes. “Would love to see the Times write about authors who aren’t white male literary darlings.” Everyone weighed in with their opinion — sexism? sour grapes? — including here on The Frisky. The matter was settled, at least for moi, when the blog Slate.com did an old-fashioned author byline count of The New York Times Book Review. That publication does, in fact, review more books written by men than women.
For us lady writers at The Frisky, it was all pretty disheartening. (Kate may be the only one who has published a book thus far, but there are several of us on staff who go home and peck on our laptops some more.) Now there’s more “ugh”-ness to “ugh!” deep in our bellies: Author Tawni O’Dell penned an essay for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about her experiences navigating the publishing industry and book-reviewing culture as a female writer and they’re utterly fascinating.
I just have four words for you: “wood nymph” and “biker chick.” Keep reading »