Salman Rushdie Returns to India; A History of Encyclopedia Britannica

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Today in publishing and literature: Salman Rushdie is returning to India for a speech later this week, Mario Puzo's estate countersues Paramount over an upcoming sequel to The Godfather, and a history of Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Salman Rushdie is scheduled to speak Friday at a conference in Delhi sponsored by the India Media Group. Organizers say they haven't received any objections to Rushdie's presence at the event, a sharp contrast to his scuttled panel talk at the Jaipur Literature Festival, which was proceded by death threats in January. William Dalrymple, co-chair of that ill-fated venture, credited the limited uproar to the fact organizers of this latest venture had the good sense not to announce Rushdie as a panelist three weeks in advance.  [The Guardian]

Last month, Paramount Pictures sued the literary estate of Mario Puzo in an attempt to block the publication of The Family Corleone, a follow-up novel to The Godfather, on the grounds that the new book would hurt the "integrity and reputation of The Godfather trilogy," which we'd note Paramount already helped damage in 1990 when they insisted Francis Ford Coppola release Godfather III without sufficient time in post-production. Anyway, Puzo's family is now countersuing Paramount for $10 million, claiming they they have the right to release ghostwritten Godfather sequels as they see fit. We foresee the two sides solving their differences out of court and without resorting to putting horse heads in beds.  [Publisher's Lunch]

Recommended Reading

Some good news for proprietors of bricks-and-mortar bookstores. According to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau, bookstore sales for the first month of 2012 totaled $2.070 billion, down a tad from the $2.072 billion generated in January 2011. What's good about sales being off ever so slightly from the year before? Well, as Publishers Weekly points out, Borders had yet to enter bankruptcy last January. And it's not like the people with e-readers has declined over the past 12 months either. [Publishers Weekly]

For those who want to mourn the loss of Encyclopaedia Britannica but don't know where to begin, The Telegraph has a brief but comprehensive history of the books, which began as part of to compile "a compendium of universal knowledge" during the French Enlightenment, and two centuries later fortified many an elementary school library shelf. [The Telegraph]

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