Amazon's Publishing Slate Unveiled ; '1Q84' Midnight Madness

Plus: The National Book Award corrects its nomination mistake and a brief history of the Man Booker Prize

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Today in books: The erroneous National Book Award nominee agrees to withdraw, Amazon will publish 122 books this fall, and 42 years of the Man Booker Prize in exactly 25 words.

  • A week after her book Shine was mistakenly listed among the finalists for the National Book Award in young adult fiction, novelist Lauren Myracle has agreed to "withdraw" the book from consideration. The National Book Foundation initially indicated the nomination would be allowed to stand, but Myracle said in a statement that representatives from the foundation contacted her on Friday and requested she pull the text "to preserve the integrity of the award and the judges’ work." As part of the arrangement for Myracle to drop out, the NBF is making a $5,000 donation to the Matthew Shepherd Foundation.  [Publishers Weekly]
  • All told, Amazon's fledgling publishing arms will release 122 titles this fall, according to The New York Times. To compete with the major houses, flagship imprint Amazon Publishing is spending big on high-profile acquisitions including a new memoir by Penny Marshall, which a source says Amazon paid $800,000 for last week. Worried publishers also indicate Amazon has been "aggressively wooing" their top authors.  [The New York Times]
  • Amazon isn't alone in its efforts to reshape publishing. Harper Perennial has been pursuing a rebranding effort since 2005 with an eye towards changing the publisher-author dynamic. The imprint's "no star system, no bidding wars, no big names" has played out on a smaller stage than Amazon's foray into publishing, but offersa blueprint for "what an imprint needs to do to distinguish itself in an increasingly stratified market." [Salon]
  • The English translation of Haruki Murakami's sprawling novel 1Q84 comes out in the United Kingdom tomorrow and bookshops across the country have scheduled Harry Potter-style midnight release parties for eager fans. At the London flagship Waterstone's store the festivities include a "Murakami Mastermind" trivia challenge, with a £750 limited edition copy of the book going to the winner. "It's very rare for us to open at midnight," a spokesman for the chain admitted. "Last year we did for the release of Terry Pratchett's new novel Unseen Academicals, when Terry did a Q&A and then came back at midnight in his nightshirt. Before that though, it was for Harry Potter." The U.S. release isn't until next week. [The Guardian]
  • The winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize will be announced tomorrow, prompting Barnes and Noble's Web site to challenge National Book Foundation executive editor Harold Augenbraum to provide "bite-sized" verdicts on the previous winners using exactly 25 words. Considering there are 42 books to cover, this is a challenge but Augenbraum manages to be enthusiastic, informative, and opinionated. (Of The Bone People, which won in 1985, he writes: "Reads like it was tapped out on a manual typewriter in a wilderness shack by a first-timer. Visceral and affecting. Among the Bookers, sui generis.") [Barnes and Noble Review]
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