Today in books and publishing: Joan Rivers dishes with the NYT; the book embroiled in a sexual harassment suit; a new player in e-books; authors say Harlequin owes them.
Joan Rivers isn't a fan of Napoleon. The irrepressible Joan Rivers talks with The New York Times about her reading life. Apparently she's quite the history buff. These days, Rivers is reading Robert A. Caro's hefty tome The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson. She also loves Thomas B. Costain's Plantagenets series, a four-part history of English kings. But her fascination with European history ends with Napoleon: "The minute Shorty comes on the scene, I’m not interested." [The New York Times]
Can literature land you in hot water at work? What does Leonard Cohen have to do with Ellen Pao's gender discrimination lawsuit against Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfied & Byers? He wrote The Book of Longing, which Kleiner senior partner Randy Komisar gave to Pao on Valentine's Day in 2007. Komisar says the gift reflected his interest in Buddhism (Cohen wrote it while staying at a Zen monastery). But Pao says the book, which features sexually explicit poetry and art, was an inappropriate come-on. [The News Tribune]
New kid on the e-books block. E-book start-up Zola Books has its sights set high. Authors behind popular titles such as The Time Traveler's Wife have invested in the New York-based company, which is gunning to replace Google eBooks as the top platform for indies to sell e-books. They've recruited some experienced professionals to get the venture off the ground. Seale Ballenger, previously a HarperCollins VP and group publicity director, will head up marketing and publicity. Mary Ann Naples leaves her position as VP of business development at OpenSky to join as chief of business development. [Digital Book World]
E-books sour romance between publisher and authors. A group of authors have filed a class action lawsuit against romance publisher Harlequin Enterprises for allegedly failing to pay royalties from e-book sales. Harlequin set up a Swiss company to handle e-book distribution, and the authors say that instead of receiving 50% of Harlequin's net receipts as they were promised, the publisher only paid them 3% to 4% of the e-books' sticker price. Publisher Donna Hayes disagrees, asserting, "Our authors have been recompensed fairly and properly for their work, and we will be defending ourselves vigorously." [Galley Cat]
F. Scott Fitzgerald's advice to a young writer: "You've got to sell your heart." [Letters of Note]
E-books, Oprah's latest favorite thing. [Chicago Sun-Times]
Ian McEwan's award presenter, straight from the pen of Ian McEwan. [The Telegraph]
Ugly book covers. [Publishers Weekly]
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.