Jane Austen Rebooted; Let the Post-Super Bowl Book Deals Begin

Today in books and publishing: Penguin is "cutting ties" with e-book supplier Overdrive, author Lev Grossman is miffed at Fox, and the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas bets big on the modern novelist.

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Today in books and publishing: the Giants turn their attention to book deal, Penguin gets rid of its e-book supplier, and HarperFiction is rebooting Jane Austen.

With the week of parades, local TV appearances, and chilly backstage interactions with Sarah Michelle Gellar winding down, members of the New York Giants can turn their attention to what really matters: securing their post-Super Bowl book deals. A source says wide receiver Victor Cruz -- he of the endzone salsa dances and team-high 83 catches -- is going to start meeting with publishers next week. New York Post media columnist Keith Kelly predicts coach Tom Coughlin will "jump into the book chase sometime in the next two weeks," even though A Team To Believe In, the memoir he received a $400,000 advance for after the team's 2008 Super Bowl win, flopped. (A spokesman for Random House was more diplomatic when talking to Kelly about the book's performance, noting only that it had "a modest sale.") Apparently, Coughlin's new book is going to be about management and leadership and whatnot. As for quarterback Eli Manning, a source says he has "no interest" in a memoir, even though publishers have offered him "big money -- seven figure deals." [New York Post]

This is interesting: Prep author Curtis Sittenfeld has signed a deal with HarperFiction to write a modern version of Pride & Prejudice. It's part of a larger Harper project in which six writers of "global literary significance" write contemporary updates of Austen's six novels. Joanne Trollope is the only other confirmed participant. Her version of Sense & Sensibility is scheduled to come out in the fall of 2013. Sittenfeld's entry is slated for the following autumn. [The Bookseller]

Penguin announced last night that it was cutting ties with Overdrive, the wholesale company that had been responsible for distributing their e-books and digital audiobooks to libraries. Until Penguin finds a new distributor, libraries won't be able to buy new e-books or audiobooks, though according to Publisher's Marketplace, the two sides are working on a "continuance agreement" for Overdrive to maintain the titles they've already sold. As a result, Random House is now the only big six publisher that hasn't placed some sort of cap or restriction on the number of times an e-book can be lent out. [Publisher's Marketplace and paidContent]

A pilot based on Lev Grossman's The Magicians won't be going to series at Fox. Grossman broke the news on his blog last night, and admitted he was "pretty stunned" by the decision. We are too, since magical teens with troubles are all the rage these days. In his post, Grossman sounded every bit like a writer blindsided by the ways of Hollywood, but did get in one nice zinger. "I don’t have a lot of good information as to why it didn’t happen," he admitted. "I don’t deal with network directly... It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that it has something to do with Terra Nova not doing as well as Fox hoped." Burn! [LevGrossman.com via Galleycat]

Closer to home, the March issue of The Atlantic features a fascinating look at the Harry Ransom Center, a library and archive at the University of Texas, which has been gobbling up papers, manuscripts, and notebooks from the likes of Don DeLillo, David Foster Wallace, Norman Mailer, and scores of other, less-esteemed contemporary authors. It's an aggressive strategy, explains Anne Trubek, built on the idea that an author like Denis Johnson "might become the next Hawthorne or Hemingway." [The Atlantic]

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