Today in books and publishing: The e-book pricing courage of the publishing industry, William Shakespeare turns 448, and John Irving explains why he's not a Hemingway fan.
When the Justice Department announced two weeks ago it was bringing antitrust charges against five major publishing houses, it gave publishers a chance to actually fight back for a change. This isn't something the industry has a long history of doing, writes New York's Boris Kachka. "Going all the way back to the Depression, when they let stores return unsold volumes at no cost," he writes, "publishers have met industry challenges with valiant defeat." Three of the publishers have already settled and a judge could eventually rule against the remaining two, Macmillan and Penguin. Even if that happens and it comes out there was a scheme by publishers to keep the price of e-books high Kachka argues "it’s heartening to see publishers—the people who actually know how to curate, edit, design, and care for books in ways Amazon just doesn’t or won’t—counterattacking for a change." Maybe, but it will be even more heartening not to have to pay $14.99 for an e-book. [New York]
William Shakespeare would have been 448 years old today and there are plenty of ways to mark the occasion. The Royal Shakespeare Company, for instance, is leading the summer-long World Shakespeare Festival, which includes ""performances of nearly every play in the canon by companies from 35 countries working in 37 languages" at the Globe theatre. In Chicago, meanwhile, it's Talk Like Shakespeare Day. On Twitter, the Smithsonian Institute shared a link to a treasure trove of Bard-related items in their art collection, including a proof from an early illustrated version of King Lear. [Smithsonian]