BBC Radio 4, the nation’s well-meaning uncle, is this week broadcasting a five part series, Publishing Lives, whose title encompasses its dual purpose of providing capsule biographies of significant figures in the development of publishing and its seeming reassurance that the current state of flux in which the industry finds itself is merely the latest iteration of several crises already endured over the past 200 years, and that it too shall pass. In each of its five 15 minute episodes, Robert McCrum (previously literary editor of the Observer, and before that editorial director of Faber & Faber for close to two decades) and his producer Melissa Fitzgerald look at the stories behind a different publishing imprint – Murray, Macmillan, Penguin, Weidenfeld, Faber – and consider how their findings illuminate the present.
Amazon has revealed the latest additions to its line of Kindles, with three new models seeing staggered releases in the US in the run-up to the Christmas shopping season. First to be released is the upgraded Kindle Fire HD, which keeps the 1280×800 resolution 7″ screen of the previous generation but switches out that model’s 1.2GHz processor for a 1.5GHz and is slightly more compact overall. It’s out on 2 October and costs $139 (around £86). Here’s an artist’s impression of its packaging:
You’d be forgiven at this point for not even realising that a trilogy of films adapting Ayn Rand’s Objectivist 1957 doorstop Atlas Shrugged, beloved of total dicks the world over, is already two thirds completed. That’s because the first two films bombed, commercially and critically, and so there’s a good chance that you are not one of the literally dozens of people who paid to see them, turning ‘who is John Galt?’ from cryptic mantra to genuine question. Part One, released in 2011, has a Metacritic rating of 28 and made back only $4,627,375 of its $20 million budget.
The long-in-the-works autobiography that Morrissey talked about having more or less finished in early 2011 – entitled, naturally, Autobiography – was due for publication in the UK this week through Penguin, with bookshops across the country whipping their Truman Capote sections back into shape for the Mozmoir’s 16 September arrival. As
obsessive Morrissey fans (edited for redundancy) no doubt noticed, however, Monday came and went with nary a swoon nor a shoplift.
Having seemingly realised that the market for this kind of thing isn’t going away any time soon, Pan Macmilan Australia’s digital imprint, Momentum, has launched another new imprint, Momentum Moonlight, dedicated to publishing romance, erotica and new adult titles (the new adult titles presumably falling on the grown-up Twilight, less-chaste epic romance end of the spectrum than the post-adolescence Hunger Games, where there’s no time for love what with all the dystopianism). Around the imprint, it also aims to build up an online community of romance readers, centred around a blog to which community members can contribute.
Since you’ve probably already hit Booker Prize news saturation point, today we’ll instead bring you news that apparently we’ve hit that point in the decade where someone thinks trying to adapt a Martin Amis novel for the cinema is a good idea, 10-15 years seemingly being the amount of time that needs to pass between efforts for everyone to forget that such endeavours have, to date, proven fools’ errands. Following the less than enthusiastically-received big screen versions of The Rachel Papers (1989) and Dead Babies (2000), filming started this week in London on London Fields – one of Amis’ most consistently popular works – with a screenplay penned by the author himself, a cast including Amber Heard, Billy Bob Thornton and Jim Sturgess and, in Mathew Cullen, a debuting director with years of experience making music videos.
Iconic Sonic Youth co-founder Kim Gordon is set to join her fellow alt-nation heroes Beastie Boys, Peter Hook and R. Kelly in releasing a memoir covering her time in the band. Taking the typically classy tack of not punning on the title of a Sonic Youth release – (I Got A) Catholic Book, Rain Kim, Tunic (Book for Karen), Kim Gordon and the Arthur Conan Doyle Hand Cream just some of the missed opportunities – the book will be entitled Girl in a Band, neatly reflecting her position as both the lone woman in Sonic Youth’s line-up and one of American indie-rock’s most prominent feminists.
Tom Chalmers is Managing Director at IPR License.
The writer Charles Caleb Colton once said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but in reality that’s not always true, and I’m not just referring to the mocking of Craig David from the old Bo’ Selecta days. In publishing imitation can often be more aligned with litigation than flattery, especially when you throw that dreaded word plagiarism into the mix.
‘I do not like my books in print
I do not like having to squint
I only read my books on Kindle
Anything else seems like a swindle’
…might be the weird Green Eggs and Ham-influenced manner in which a particularly bright yet techno-snobbish child would care to tell the world that it had not yet been exposed to the iconic works of Dr. Seuss due to their only being available in print and not digitally. Although in that case, if it hadn’t actually read the book, how would it be able to make a reference like that? Let’s not think too deeply about this. The point is, as of this month, Random House will be filling a void in that delightfully uppity child’s life, with the first batch of a planned 41 digital releases from the erstwhile Theodor Geisel’s bibliography.
Creative Skillset – the licensed Sector Skills Council whose remit encompasses publishing, alongside entertainment media, fashion, marketing and communications – is looking for publishing professionals to participate in its industry panels, giving feedback that it says ‘will be vital in shaping future strategies and supporting the UK Creative Industries in remaining globally competitive’. Over a maximum of four ten question online surveys a year, contributors will be asked their opinions on relevant concerns such as skills gaps, training and the industry’s future needs.