Today in publishing: 1Q84 arrives in stores in the U.S., three leading publishers make it clear they don't want Casey Anthony's memoir, and more hand-wringing over Amazon Publishing.
- Speculation about a possible book deal for Casey Anthony began almost immediately after she was acquitted of murdering her 2 year-old daughter back in July. At the time, publishers seemed wary of the public backlash to the project. In the wake of a TMZ report yesterday that NBC was acting as go-between for Anthony and potential publishers in an attempt to secure an interview without violating the network's pay-for-play policy, HarperCollins, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster all tell TMZ they have no interest in publishing the book. Simon & Schuster issued the most adamant denial, saying they were "100% not interested. We are NOT NOT NOT interested." [TMZ]
- The first two volumes of Haruki Murakami's sprawling novel 1Q84 finally go on-sale in the U.S. today. For those waiting in line to pick up their copy or in need of some company while they tackle the 924 behemoth, publisher Alfred A. Knopf has posted a special 1Q84 playlist on Spotify. [Spotify]
- The Guardian has published a newly-rediscovered "sketch" that playwright Harold Pinter wrote for a one-night only revue at the Nottingham Playhouse in 1960. The scene, called "Umbrellas," was discovered in the archive of playwright NF Simpson, who also contributed to the revue. "If there was any doubt who the author was, then the 12 designated pauses are something of a giveaway," The Guardian notes. A sample exchange from the "two gentleman in deck chairs" who are the featured players:
"A: The weather's too much for me today.
B: Well, you're damn lucky you've got your umbrella.
A: I'm never without it, old boy.
That's Pinter, all right. [The Guardian]
- The New York Times touched a nerve last week with its story about the aggressive approach Amazon has taken in launching its own publishing line. The discussion has continued with an online debate featuring Melville House publisher Dennis Johnson, GigaOm vice president of research Michael Wolff, and authors Thomas Glave and La urel Saville hosted on the Times Web site. The most compelling pro-Amazon Publishing argument comes from Saville, who sold her upcoming memoir to an Amazon imprint. "Because Amazon is also a retailer and sells an enormous quantity of books," she notes, "it has a lot more information and access to readers. It can give its authors a bigger and more targeted soapbox." The counter-argument, as you would expect, comes from Johnson, who maintains the company's cost-cutting approach to retail will continue as it tries to break into publishing, which is bad news for authors who appeal to a niche audience. Writes Johnson: "[Y]ou have to ask yourself why Amazon wants a publishing company...If it conducts its publishing business in the ruthless way it has conducted its retail business -- discounting other retailers out of business, fighting to avoid collecting state sales taxes -- one can assume its goal is to likewise put publishers out of business." [The New York Times]