Today in publishing and literature: The former British prime minister is writing a book about life in the year 2025, how Barnes & Noble is holding back the "post-apocalyptic word of publishing," and the fake Cormac McCarthy Twitter account has been suspended.
Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has signed a deal with Simon & Schuster to write a book called 2025: Shaping the Future of the World, in which he'll make his predictions about what the world is going to look like in 13 years. This type of undertaking has the potential to get monumentally silly, but based on the quotes included in the project's press release, he's going to be shying away from predictions about, say, turning Mars into a prison colony, and focus more on declining marriage rates, urban population growth, and "women's leadership as a force for change." The book -- Brown's third in a span of two years -- is slated to be published in November. [The Guardian]
Barnes & Noble currently holds about 27 percent of the e-book market, compared to Amazon, which has a market share of "at least" 60 percent. But for New York publishers reeling from the loss of Borders and fuming over Amazon's foray into publishing, the relative success of Barnes & Noble and the Nook is the one thing preventing what one unnamed executive calls the "post-apocalyptic world of publishing, with publishers pushing shopping carts down Broadway." To keep up with Amazon, the company has already discussed spinning off its Nook business, and buried deep in yesterday's New York Times profile of Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch, is the news that as of last week, designers were putting the final touches on a "fifth e-reading device, a product that executives said would be released sometime this spring." A spokeswoman declined to provide more details on the device. [The New York Times]
Also on the Barnes & Noble front: the company is reported to be "developing a partnership" with Waterstones, the United Kingdom's largest bookstore chain, to begin selling Nooks in their stores by the end of the year. This would be the first time the Nook has been available outside of the United States. [Bloomberg]
Connoisseurs of lurid tell-alls and the golden age of Hollywood will almost certainly be entranced by Full Service, the upcoming memoir of 88-year-old Scotty Bowers. Per The New York Times, stories about Bowers have "floated through moviedom’s clubby senior ranks for years," specifically that he ran "a type of prostitution ring for gay and bisexual men in the film industry, including A-listers like Cary Grant, George Cukor and Rock Hudson" and "arranged arranged sexual liaisons for actresses like Vivien Leigh and Katharine Hepburn." All of which is covered in the memoir, due out February 14, including stories involving "Spencer Tracy, Cole Porter, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and socialites like the publisher Alfred A. Knopf." Bowers' agent and the book's publisher, Grove/Atlantic, are trying to insist that Full Service is "not a prurient tell-all, but instead provides a window into an erased, forgotten and denied past of Los Angeles." Grove/Atlantic publisher Morgan Entrekin notes that there's "nothing meanspirited about [the book] at all" and pointing out that the whole text been vetted by a libel lawyer. Which may not make a difference to fans and heirs who have taken a dim view of biographers who try to pull the curtain back on the private lives of classic screen icons. [The New York Times]
Twitter has suspended the account of @CormacCMcCarthy, the fake account of All the Pretty Horses author Cormac McCarthy that some very smart people -- including Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey -- mistakenly believed to be real last week. That seems harsh, considering that @wendi_deng lives to tweet, albeit with a disclaimer noting that it is not actually operated by Rupert Murdoch's wife. [GalleyCat]