Today in books and publishing: Fifty Shades of Grey is the fastest-selling paperback ever; Elie Wiesel returns an award to Hungary in protest; remembering the good old book days; what would your favorite author drunk-text?
Fifty Shades of milestones. Today in disturbing news: The book—that book, you know, that book—has now enjoyed faster paperback sales in the U.K. than even the mighty Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling and Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code. "Last week alone, the first instalment sold more than 100,000 paperback copies – a feat most of the Harry Potter books and all of the Twilight novels failed to achieve." First Britain, then the world, to some people's dismay, though obviously not E.L. James'. The woman is hungry on power! [Daily Mail]
Elie Wiesel returns Hungarian award in protest. The Nobel Peace Prize winner and author of Night has returned an award given to him by the Hungarian government in 2004, after state officials in May honored writer Jozsef Nyiro, who supported fascism and had openly Nazi sympathies during World War II. (Nyiro died in 1953, but, writes Alexander Nazaryan in The New York Daily News, his poetry is still read in Hungarian schools today.) Wiesel wrote a letter to Hungary's speaker of parliament Laszlo Kover in which he expressed his dismay:
“I don’t believe in collective guilt, but I do believe in taking a position about matters that happen today,” said Wiesel, whose parents and sister were sent to Nazi death camps by wartime Hungarian officials, according to the AP. “To celebrate and honor leaders of fascist Hungary is wrong.”
He continued, "It has become increasingly clear that Hungarian authorities are encouraging the whitewashing of tragic and criminal episodes in Hungary's past, namely the wartime Hungarian government's involvement in the deportation and murder of hundreds of thousands of its Jewish citizens." [Bloomberg, New York Daily News]
Book nostalgia alert. E-books are outselling hardbound books for the first time. According to the Association of American Publishers, "in the first quarter of 2012, adult eBook sales were up to $282.3 million while adult hardcover sales came to only $229.6 million," writes Steve J. Vaughan-Nichols of ZDNet. So, from Nick Bilton's piece in The New York Times over how much he misses actual, physical books to British bookseller Tim Waterstone's reminiscences of how people used to purchase books in New York in 1979 in The Daily Beast, everyone seems to be trotting out their misty watercolor memories over paper and ink and pages one could turn with actual hands. Bilton writes, "The scent of physical books—the paper, the ink, the glue—can conjure up memories of a summer day spent reading on a beach, a fall afternoon in a coffee shop, or an overstuffed chair by a fireplace as rain patters on a windowsill. IPads and Kindles, in comparison, don’t necessarily smell like anything." But digital is so practical! Of course, there's an easy solution to this problem. Use both. While you still can. [New York Times, The Daily Beast]
How to fund your book on Kickstarter. Entrepreneur Seth Godin now has $187,531 pledged to his book, The Icarus Deception: Why Make Art?—more than three times his goal of $40,000, with 27 days still to go to be fully funded. Godin raised more than $40,000 in less than four hours, in fact, breaking all records of this sort in recent and probably historical memory. He wrote on his page, "In less than 180 minutes, the mighty mighty tribe of art-makers and people who care (particularly those that read my blog) shattered my expectations and sent a message to any author who wants to make a book.... PS even though we hit the minimum, we're going to keep this rocking until we run out of rewards." [Kickstarter]
Adult things for grownups. What would your favorite author drunk-text? Hilarious sample: Dan Brown, "This message is a booty text." (PS: Don't respond to Dan Brown's booty text.) [The Paris Review]
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.