Today in publishing and literature: Amazon's revenues from downloads are estimated at $1.12 million, defending Jonathan Franzen's tough talk on Twitter and e-books, and a Courtney Love tell-all is being shopped.
Dispatches from the Franzen Wars Jonathan Franzen's recent criticism of e-readers and Twitter may have felt reactionary and short-sighted, but give him credit for being one of the few authors with a genuine online following to voice fears about what technology is doing to human communication. "He wants to make a case for the way people should read, for the very meaning of honesty and expression and truth," argues Salon culture editor David Daley. "He wants to find a way beyond shame, beyond worrying about what others think — for the sake of getting closer to the truth in his work." In other words, Franzen may be running the risk od biting the digital hand that feeds him, but that's at least part of what people value in him. [Salon]
Kindle Single Sales According to Amazon's internal numbers, the company has sold "over two million" of the pint-sized books since first introducing the line 14 months ago. Is that good? Maybe. On the one hand, 2 million is a lot of anything to sell in a given year. But Amazon declined to reveal just how much revenue those sales generated, though Paid Content's Laura Hazard Owen crunches the numbers and concludes that "with an average price of $1.87 multiplied by two million, a rough estimate of Amazon’s 30-percent cut is $1.12 million." Not huge huge, but a nice figure when you consider the Kindle Single filled a market void and gives people just one more reason to go out and buy a Kindle. [Paid Content]
How the authors are faring OK, $1.12 million for Amazon. Not bad. So how is the Kindle Single program treating authors? Quite nicely, considering they pocket 70 percent of the average $1.87 sale price. Half-a-dozen weigh in on their experiences dealing with the company, which are almost uniformly positive, and note some of the the side-benefits of working with Amazon, including limited amounts of editing and stipends and reporting fees. [Paid Content]
Green for Grey "A seven-figure sum." That's how much Vintage Books -- an imprint of Random House -- paid for the rights to Fifty Shades of Grey, the slice of "Mommy Porn" that topped New York Times e-book bestseller list last week and is currently the bestselling e-book title for Barnes & Noble and Amazon. The figure also includes the rights to two planned sequels from author E.L. James. Vintage isn't wasting any time cashing in on the investment: new e-book editions of the book are being released today and in a few weeks, a redesigned paperback edition of the book is getting a 750,000-copy print run. [The New York Times]
A Courtney Love Tell-All If you're concerned you're not properly informed about the various personal struggles of Courtney Love, we have good news: apparently Jessica Labrie, who worked for Love from 2010 to 2011, is shopping a tell-all book proposal about her former boss to various New York literary agents. According to TMZ, the book -- tentatively and terrifically titled Get Me a Xanax -- claims Love "torpedoed several romantic relationships" and abuses cocaine, Adderall, Xanax. Love is already pushing back against the drug allegations, informing TMZ that she hasn't taken Adderall since November 2010 and never took cocaine when Labrie worked for her, though she does confirm she takes Xanax, because she has a prescription. [TMZ]