Today in publishing: Amazon Publishing snags another big name, the chairman of next year's Man Booker Prize panel comes with "impeccable bookish credentials," and Jonathan Lethem is still smarting over a bad review he got in 2003.
- Deepak Chopra was given his own imprint at Crown Publishing back in March, but that didn't stop him from signing a deal with Amazon to publish a memoir he cowrote with his brother Sanjiv. In an email to The New York Observer, a spokesman for Random House (Crown's parent company) said that Crown has "multiple future books of [Chopra's] under contract" and that the publisher is looking forward to continuing its "productive and flexible publishing partnership" with the new age medical guru. According to GalleyCat, Amazon Publishing paid "$500,000 or higher" to acquire the memoir, titled Brotherhood, which would be in keeping with Amazon's recent free-spending ways. [AP and The New York Observer]
- Times Literary Supplement editor Peter Stothard will chair the judging of next year's Man Booker Prize. The Guardian notes that Stohard boasts "impeccable bookish credentials" that are "a long way from this year's chair, the former MI5 director [Stella] Rimington," whose literary expertise was confined largely to writing spy novels. Unlike Rimington, whose emphasis on choosing finalists based on "readability" didn't sit well British book types, Stohard has already said his panel would favor texts that meet the prize's "great traditions." [The Guardian]
- Publishers Weekly will release its list of the year's 100 best books today. To tease the rest of the list, they've already released their Top 10, which is topped by Jeffrey Eugenides' The Marriage Plot, and also includes Tina Fey's Bossypants and the Christopher Hitchens essay collection Arguably. [Publishers Weekly]
- Novelist Jonathan Lethem is still angry with New Yorker book critic James Wood for writing a long, unimpressed review of Lethem’s novel The Fortress of Solitude in The New Republic back in 2003. Lethem admits “sulking over an eight-year-old mixed review” isn’t particularly attractive, but does so anyway. He’s particularly aggrieved that Wood, after glossing over key plot points in his initial review, responded to the “ long, intemperate letter” Lethem sent him with “a curt postcard in reply.” As Wood takedowns go, it’s more earnest but less fun than Colson Whitehead channeling the critic in an essay for the February 2009 issue of Harper’s. [Los Angeles Review of Books]
- HarperCollins is paying $200 million to acquire Christian book publishing house Thomas Nelson, according to a quarterly filing from News Corp., the parent company of HarperCollins. The deal was announced last week, but terms weren't available. Considering Nelson and its imprints generate close to 15% of the total revenue in the Christian book business and that InterMedia paid $473 million to take the publisher private in 2006, $200 million looks like a steal. [Publishers Weekly]