Today in books and publishing: An excerpt from Michael Chabon's latest novel; pricey e-books hit the top of the charts; the myth of Gen-Y illiteracy; Irvine Welsh accuses the Man Booker Prize of classism.
Higher-priced e-books top the charts. Starting today, Digital Book World and Iobyte Solutions will begin compiling a weekly list of e-book bestsellers. Their first entry may surprise those who thought cheap e-books would naturally overtake the market. Agency-priced e-books, which tend to have a higher price-point, actually had the strongest showing. At $12.99, Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl is a fairly expensive e-book, but it sits at No. 3 on the bestsellers list. Only three titles priced below $3.00 made it into the Top 25. Largely buoyed by the runaway success of Fifty Shades of Grey, Random House had the strongest showing among publishers. Many believe the future of the agency pricing model is at stake in the Department of Justice's current lawsuit against Apple. [Digital Book World]
Misreading millennials' reading habits. Even though young people buy more books than baby boomers, the belief that millennials don't read remains widespread. T. Scott Gross, a Forbes blogger and self-described "millennial marketing specialist," is one of the many pundits still perpetuating the myth of Generation Y illiteracy. Gross bases his incredibly condescending post "Two Books Millennials Aren't About to Read" solely on anecdotal evidence, writing, "I haven’t met a single Millennial who has read a business book since leaving college." His third paragraph taunts readers, "If you have read this far, I am willing to bet you are over thirty-five. See? I’m right, aren’t I?" (I, unfortunately, did read that far, so no, you're not.) After discussing two books that have nothing to do with young people, he drops this pearl of insight: "Millennials, as a group, are not particularly good storytellers. Why should they be? They don’t read enough to get good at telling tales." Gross wraps up his post with a bizarre hostage fantasy: "If you have a favorite Millennial duct tape him (or her) to a comfortable chair and read these two books aloud. No doubt you will receive a thank-you text of 140 characters or less!" [Forbes]
Irvine Welsh calls out the Man Booker. Any English-language novelist from the Commonwealth of Nations, Ireland or Zimbabwe is eligible for the Man Booker Prize, but over its 43-year history, only one Scottish author has received the prestigious award. Irvine Welsh is now taking the Man Booker to task for what he perceives as its classism and anti-Scottish bias. At the Edinburgh World Writers' Conference, Welsh complained that the award is "based on the conceit that upper-class Englishness is the cultural yardstick against which all literature must be measured." Evoking criticisms that the award is anti-Scottish, he said, "The Booker apologists simply have no arguments to refute these observations. Hegemony not only breeds arrogance; it also promotes intellectual enfeeblement." On a related note, Welsh wrote about the concept of a national literature in yesterday's Guardian. [The Bookseller]
A brief stroll down Telegraph Avenue. Pre-presidential Barack Obama makes a brief, strange appearance in Michael Chabon's upcoming novel Telegraph Avenue. Still an Illinois senator, he has a chat at a fundraising event with a pregnant woman experiencing marital woes. Obama says, "I have seen a lot of people, met a lot of people. The lucky ones are the people like your husband there. The ones who find work that means something to them. That they can really put their heart into, however foolish it might look to other people." Read more from this excerpt over at Vulture. [Vulture]
Scenes from the 2012 Romance Writers of America conference. A New York Times photographer was in Anaheim, California to capture the event. [The New York Times]
A real New Jersey housewife gets a real book deal. Made famous by the reality show Real Housewives of New Jersey, Caroline Manzo has signed a book deal with a HarperCollins imprint. Let Me Tell You Something will hit shelves March, 2013. [Boston.com]
The Nook hops the pond. Barnes & Noble will start selling its e-reader device in Britain. [The New York Times]
Clouded visions. Novelist Teju Cole recounts his brush with blindness. [Granta]
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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