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Today in literature and publishing: Marco Rubio secures a well-timed book deal, a possible new image of Jane Austen has been discovered, and Byliner enters the short story publishing game.

  • Sentinel -- one of Penguin's conservative imprints --has reached a deal to publish a memoir by Florida Senator Marco Rubio. According to the press release, the untitled book is "tentatively scheduled for the fall of 2012," a date that will almost certainly be moved up when if Rubio becomes the GOP's vice presidential candidate. [The Miami Herald]
  • Byliner's fiction imprint goes live today with "Rules for Virgins," Amy Tan's first short story in six years. As with Byliner's non-fiction offerings, the list price for Tan's story is $2.99 and it's available for downloads through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Google's Ebookstore. [Jacket Copy via The Book Bench]
  • Jane Austen biographer Paula Byrne thinks she's uncovered a new portrait of the author. This is a big deal, as The Guardian notes, since there are only two "accepted" portraits of the Sense and Sensibility author in existence.The discovery was momentous enough for the BBC to produce a documentary in which three Austen scholars weigh in on whether the painting -- which looks quite different from the existing images of the author -- is genuine or "an imaginary portrait." [The Guardian]
  • With print sales flagging, more and more publishers are dressing up the physical editions of new titles with "special effects" and "premium design flourishes," like the shiny Maybach on the cover of Jay-Z's memoir Decoded and photographs inside Stephen King's 11/22/63. Not every book receives the eye-catching design treatment, but the ones that do have been flying off actual, physical shelves. Haruki Marukami's 1Q84, for example, arrived with a meticulously designed translucent cover and so far has sold 95,000 copies in hardcover, compared to 28,000 as an Ebook. [The New York Times]
  • Amanda Knox's Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito has signed up with Seattle's Martin Literary Management and is in the process of finding a ghostwriter to help him with a memoir. Like Knox, Sollecito had his conviction in the 2007 death of British exchange student Meredith Kercher overturned earlier this year. [Seattle Post-Intelligencer via GalleyCat]

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