Today in books and publishing: Hollywood courts crime novelist Don Winslow; prescriptivists versus descriptivists; University of Missouri Press struggles to stay afloat; Penguin purchases self-publishing company.
The plight of the university press. Academics and publishing industry veterans were furious when the University of Missouri pulled funding from its university press in May. But now the university announced plans to revive the University of Missouri Press, albeit in attenuated form. Speer Morgan, the operation's new director, talks with Publishers Weekly about the challenges UMP will face in a rough books market and cash-strapped higher education landscape. "There's a lot of reorganization and repositioning in the university press world, a lot of experimentation going on now with management and reporting systems," he says. "University presses are trying to cut their losses." [Publishers Weekly]
Penguin wades into self-publishing. With traditional models waning and self-publishing waxing, Pearson—the umbrella organization which includes Penguin—has scooped up self-publishing company Author Solutions for $116 million. Penguin chief executive John Makinson says, "This acquisition will allow Penguin to participate fully in perhaps the fastest-growing area of the publishing economy and gain skills in customer acquisition and data analytics that will be vital to our future." [The Telegraph]
Don Winslow has plenty of options. Hollywood has taken a real shining to crime novelist Don Winslow. Savages, based on his novel of the same title, is doing fairly well at the box office, and a slew of options from film industry bigwigs are following in its wake. Producer Shane Salerno just snatched the rights to Winslow's 1999 novel California Fire And Life, and Warner Brothers is developing Satori into a vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio. With all these adaptations in the works, is Winslow—a sharp, modern crime novelist with "a whip-cracking way with words"—set to become Hollywood's new Elmore Leonard? [Deadline]
Infighting amongst word nerds. Should dictionaries prescribe usage rules in order to preserve proper English or simply describe contemporary usage in order to record the language's evolution? The proudly descriptivist editors of the UK's Collins Dictionary recently invited the public to submit words they think should be added to their online dictionary. "Superphone" and "twitlit" have already made earned inclusion. "Balderdash!" says Bill Morris, presumably swirling a snifter of fine brandy in his walnut-lined study. Over at The Millions, he mounts a spirited defensive of The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language and its unabashed prescriptivism. [The Millions]
Sign your kids up for literary letters, teach them about that quaint relic, mail. [Wired]
Little girl judges books by their cover, for your amusement. [Babble]
Why not accessorize with a book purse? [Los Angeles Times]
For just $25,000, Jinx Books and its feline mascot Jinx Jr. can be yours. [The Fulton Sun]
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.