Today in books and publishing: Comic book artist and educator Joe Kubert dies; how unwanted books get recycled; will Apple back the Orange Prize?
Where do bad books go when they die? Now that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has recalled Jonah Lehrer's Imagine, whither all those unwanted copies? After investigating the fate of the publishing industry's unsold books, New York magazine details the pulping process for us. In a neat, cyclical process, pulping machines chew up books, churn them into a milky substance, and then reconstitute them as fresh, blank paper for future books. But the process gets a little tricky when you take into account the glue, binding, and other non-paper materials that go into bookmaking. "Regular paper will go back into liquid relatively easily," says Thomas E. Amidon, the director of the Empire State Paper Research Institute in Syracuse. "You need a machine that can screen out the chunks." [New York]
From Oranges to Apples. Details seem scant on this one, but The Telegraph is reporting that Apple has been looking to back the Orange Prize for Fiction, a prestigious award for female novelists such as Madeline Miller (pictured above), who received the 2012 Orange Prize for The Song of Achilles. Orange, the cell phone company that conceived the prize in 1996 and has supported it since, withdrew support earlier this year after merging T-Mobile. The prize's future has been uncertain, and speculation began brewing that Apple would step in to fund the prize. Now, The Telegraph cites anonymous sources as saying that the tech giant has been in talks with award organizers. [The Telegraph]
RIP, Joe Kubert. Joe Kubert, one of DC Comic's most prolific artists and the founder of the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, died over the weekend at 85. Born in a Polish immigrant family, he began drawing on butcher paper in his father's Brooklyn kosher butchery. He began working professionally as a teen, rising to the position of DC’s director of publications from 1967 to 1976. The Kubert School is the only accredited school that focusses entirely on cartooning, and many prominent professionals in the field are graduates. Comic book writer Mark Evanier says, "Joe was one of the most important artists to ever work in comics, as evidenced just by the vast number of other artists who started off copying his work, learning from his work and-- for a lucky group -- attending his school." [The Washington Post]
Scenes from The Last Book Sale. "I’ve never seen that many people lined up in Archer City," Lonesome Dove author Larry McMurtry says on the occasion of his Last Book Sale. "And I’m sure I never will again." Over the weekend, he began auctioning over 300,000 used books, two-thirds of the stock for his bookstore Booked Up. Over 150 people showed up to the dusty, far-flung Texas town to make bids. McMurtry says he hopes to streamline his bookstore, and that this event shouldn't be interpreted as a death knell for brick-and-mortar shops like his. "I think a good bookstore will not suffer," he says. "All the controversies about the Kindle don’t have much impact on the rare book business." [The New York Times]
Jack Kerouac, major turn-on. "My decade-long enamor with the poets and writers of the Beat Generation was about to pay off," writes The Millions' Stephanie Nikolopoulos. "As the only woman who adored Kerouac, I would be the vixen of the literary matchmaking board." [The Millions]
Strike a prose. Jeffrey Eugenides, Junot Diaz, Jonathan Safran Foer and others pose for for an Edith Wharton-themed spread in September issue of Vogue. [Ciao Domenica]
The Razzies for fiction. Announcing the "winners" of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, which catalogues the year's worst writing. [Publishers Weekly]
For discerning readers. Bloated general interest stores like Borders may have gone under, but bookstores that cater to hyper-specific audiences remain afloat. [Flavorwire]
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.