France to Digitize 'Indispensable' Books; Collecting David Foster Wallace's Essays

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Today in publishing and literature: France's great big book digitalization project gets the go-ahead, details about the posthumous collection of David Foster Wallace essays, and Jodi Picoult is writing a tearjerker for kids.

The French government has passed a law authorizing the digitalization and sale of 500,000 "indispensable" out-of-print books. This raises several reasonable questions, including: what makes a book indispensable? And who gets to decide? In this case, that responsibility falls to staff of France's Bibliothèque nationale. France is investing 30 million euros in the project, for a start, and will have a 40% stake in the royalties generated from the sales of the collection, with the going to publishers and authors.  [paidContent]

Three non-fiction books about David Foster Wallace will be released in 2012, but the author's fans are undoubtedly more excited to hear about Both Flesh and Not, a posthumous collection of previously uncollected essays from the author scheduled for a November 27 release. There's no cover art, but according to Amazon's product description, the collection will feature "F/X Porn," his 1998 analysis of Terminator 2, "Federer as Religious Experience," a 2006 New York Times piece about the divine aspects of the Swiss tennis player's game. [The Millions]

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New York Times Book Review senior editor Alexander Starr is leaving to become senior editor at Farrar, Straus & Giroux, that most tony and hard to spell of publishing houses. F.S.G. has been on a bit of a hiring spree of late, bringing on Ileene Smith as vice president and executive editor last month. Joy Peskin was also hired as editorial director of F.S.G. Children's. [Capital]

Today, in people you didn't realize were writing novels news: Former Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken, Jr. -- Hall of Famer and symbol of baseball goodness -- just published his second children's book. It's called Super-Sized Slugger, and it's about baseball (like his last book) and involves bullies (unlike his last book, which involved controlling your temper). He must be doing something right: on presales alone, the book was no. 8 on Amazon's list of bestselling children's sports books. [Baltimore Sun]

It occasionally seems like Jodi Picoult has a new bestseller every week. Now she's signed a deal to write a young-adult novel, Between the Lines, with Hodder & Stoughton. The book, scheduled to come out in June with be cowriitten by Picoult's daughter and delve into "when happily ever after isn't so happy, and when the barriers between books and life begin to crumble," according to the publisher. [The Bookseller]

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