IKEA's New Bookshelves Can, in Fact, Still Hold Books

Plus: Ebook sales were up a whopping 162 percent in the first half of 2011

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Today in books: e-book sales are up, up, up, Ikea might not be trying to destroy the printed book after all, and the Bronte's revival is scrutinized.

  • McGraw-Hill is splitting up into two separate companies, the company announced Monday. The newly-formed McGraw Hill Education will handle the company's textbook publishing business, while McGraw-Hill Financial will hold on to the S&P and J.D. Power & Associates. Directors said the move will give investors a more "sharply defined" view of the company's operations and allow them to invest accordingly. Creation of the new publishing arm, which is searching for a CEO, is expected to be completed by the end of 2012, according to a press release. [Bloomberg
  • When The Economist reported Friday that IKEA's redesign of its ubiquitous Billy bookshelf included a deeper shelf size that's friendlier for things other than books, it was widely interpreted as the latest body blow for non-digital books. On paper at least, that's true. But as the Los Angeles Times book blog Jacket Copy notes, the shelves are still adjustable, not fixed, and presumably can hold books just as well as a stack of unused e-readers. [Jacket Copy]
  • The American Association of Publishers has released sales figures from 79 publishing houses over the first six months of 2011. As you might expect, e-book sales were up ($473.8 million for the first half of 2011, compared to $181.3 million over the same period in 2010--more than a 161 percent spike), while total print sales amounted to $1.75 billion, down from $2.16 billion in the first half of 2010. Also up: audio book downloads, by 17 percent. [Paid Content and Publishers Weekly]
  • New film adaptations of Charlotte Bronte's novel Jane Eyre and sister Emily's Wuthering Heights are set to be released this fall, the latest of the more than 25 adaptations of the family's work to hit screens since 1980. In The Guardian, Blake Morrison traces the origins of two decades of "Brontemania," which he says grew out of the "Brontephilia" of the first years of the 20th century, when, Morrison says, the sisters' personal lives interested the public more than their work. Morrison's argument is compelling, although he falls short of the trifecta by not describing high school students who struggled with Jane Eyre as "Brontephobic." [The Guardian
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