Today in publishing and literature: The co-chair of the Jaipur Literature Festival explains the decision to cancel Salman Rushdie's video speech, War Horse is a best-seller 30 years in the making, and the high cost of owning a Nook.
William Dalyrymple, the co-chair of the Jaipur Literature Festival, has written a very thorough account of the scene backstage Tuesday at the Diggi Palace in the minutes before the decision was made to cancel Salman Rushdie's planned video address. Dalrymple makes it very clear that the venue's owner was the one who pulled the plug on the speech. Ram Pretab Singh, the owner of the palace, "said he was unable to take responsibility for a lathi charge and possible deaths in a venue full of children and old people." That's not an unreasonable position, and Dalrymple admits "there could have been worse outcomes" to the stand-off. But he doesn't seem particularly optimistic about the festival's future, occasionally even slips into the past tense when discussing it. He notes that when Rushdie first appeared at the festival back in 2007, no objections were raised [The Guardian]
That little dust-up with President Obama has done wonders for sales of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's book Scorpions for Breakfast. It's now the 21st bestselling title on Amazon, up from number 285,568 a day ago. That's a post-finger wag sales bounce of more than 1.3 million percent. [Publishers Weekly]
Short of getting into a spat with the president, another way to bolster sales of your book is have Steven Spielberg direct the movie version. It's done wonders for the sales of War Horse, which only sold "about 50,000 copies" from 1982 to 2007. Between 2007, when a stage play based on the book opened, and November of 2011, 950,000 copies were sold in the United Kingdom. The U.K. release of the film two weeks has given new new life to the title. It now sits atop the country's best-seller list for the second week in a row. [BBC]
32 of the 100 best-selling Kindle titles are priced at less than $2, compared to zero for the Nook. Zero! That's just one of the eye-popping numbers on a neat new graphic from the sales-tracking company Booklr. [Booklr via Galleycat]
For $24.95 a month, subscribers to the newly-launched Audiobooks.com can stream all the audiobooks they want from the site's cloud-based catalog. On the surface, that sounds like an appealing alternative to current audiobooks juggernaut Audible.com, which offers an à la carte pricing plan and requires users to actually download titles. If there's fundamental problem with the Audiobooks model, it's that accesing streaming audio on-the-go is hit or miss if you don't have a WiFi connection. Also, users who stream books to their phones will be using up hours of their precious, precious data. Oh, and Audiobooks has an 11,000-title library, compared to Audible's 100,000. [paidContent]