J.D. Salinger Now Threatening Legal Action From Beyond the Grave

Plus: An appropriate send-off for Borders

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Today in the book world: J.D. Salinger's estate is threatening legal action, Gabby Giffords's memoir has a release date, and the loveliest tribute to Borders we've seen thus far.

  • J.D. Salinger died in 2010, but his litigious spirit lives on in the executors of his literary trust, who have "threatened legal action" against Washingtonville, New York memorabilia dealer Gary Zimet for posting a 1957 letter allegedly written by the reclusive author to his shop's web site. In the two-page, typewritten note to someone named Mr. Herbert, Salinger sheds light on his refusal to sell the film and stage rights to The Catcher in the Rye, explaining that the book is "a very novelistic novel" and that the character of Holden Caulfield "can't legitimately be separated from his own first-person technique." (Salinger also doesn't think the "Sensitive, Intelligent, Talented Young Actor in a Reversible Coat" that producers would inevitably cast as Holden could do the role justice ) Zimet says the text has been online for 14 months, but apparently he only just received a scary-sounding letter from Salinger's son Matt informing him that "any publication -- even online -- without express permission by my father and/or the Trust is a direct and clear infringement of my father’s, and now the Trust’s, intellectual property rights," adding that he had "referred this matter to our [intellectual property] attorneys." Zimet, who sold the original copy of the note to a private collector, tells Page Six he's won't pull the letter unless he's legally forced to. [Page Six]
  • Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and husband Mark Kelly's memoir Gabby will be published on November 15. According to Scribner's press release, the book will detail the couple's "courtship, Ms. Giffords' rise in U.S. politics," Kelly's experience as commander of the Space Shuttle Endeavour’s final flight, and Giffords's "recovery process" from the Tucson shooting spree in January that left six people dead and Giffords gravely wounded. GalleyCat notes that The Wall Street Journal columnist and Last Lecture co-author Jeffrey Zaslow contributed to the book. [GalleyCat]
  • Is it possible for a start-up to launch an Ebook reader without the backing of an Amazon, Sony, or Barnes & Noble? Increasingly, the answer seems to be no, which Berlin-based start-up txtr found out the hard way when it tried developing its own Ebook reader in 2009 and 2010. The lesson, according to the piece's author Amanda DeMarco: "Developing hardware is an unforgiving process; you can’t sell an e-reader in beta."  [Publishing Perspectives]
  • If you enjoyed spending hours sitting in Borders, methodically sifting through bargain bins, and becoming enamored with books you would never purchase, definitely read Keith Phipps's new A.V. Club essay "Requiem for a Megastore." It's an appropriate send-off for the once-ubiquitous chain and an appropriate tribute to the store's ability to offer "a moment of plenitude and pages without end." [The A.V. Club]
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