Today in books and publishing: Booksellers turn away Amazon-published books; James Franco releases a chapbook; R.I.P. Han Suyin; Pippa fights for her right to party.
Bookstores won't stock Amazon titles. Booksellers have sniffed out an intruder in their midst, plotting to take brick and mortar bookstores down from the inside. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's New Harvest line might look like any other publishing operation—but wise booksellers know that it belongs to Amazon. And they don't like the idea of using their stores as a showroom for their largest competitor, so they're weeding the double agent books out of their stores. "At a certain point you have to decide how far you want to nail your own coffin shut," says Michael Tucker, owner of San Francisco's Books Inc (pictured above). He's refusing to stock titles like Timothy Ferriss' The 4-Hour Chef, released through New Harvest. "Amazon wants to completely control the entire book trade. You’re crazy if you want to play that game with them." This embargo probably won't register as much more than a tiny blip on Amazon's radar, but there's evidence that it could sink their designs to become a content creator. Remember Penny Marshall's memoir, My Mother Was Nuts? That book came out through Amazon, was shunned by many stores, and sold only 2,000 copies in its first week. [The New York Times]
James Franco, poet. How to read James Franco? Is this actor-author-director-artist-lecturer a true Renaissance man, a shameless opportunist, or a pop-culture prankster? Who knows, but he just earned himself another hyphen: poet. His first chapbook, Strongest of the Litter, is out now via Hollyridge Press. From the publisher:
These poems, thoroughly beautiful and spare, have the texture of contending angles. Authenticity can be achieved only through different voices: in an investigation of the range and strength of American art, in homage to Williams Carlos Williams, in awe at the cost to American actors of their art (notably Taylor, Clift, De Niro and Brando), in the celebration and limitation of Kowalski love...