Today in books and publishing: Ernest Hemingway's estate leaps into the luxury hotel business, Amazon has a copycat bestseller problem, and a tour of Jane Friedman's sprawling, well-read Manhattan duplex.
A Hemingway-themed hotel You may soon be staying at one, sipping whiskey, silently appraising a stuffed and mounted beast of some sort in a wood-paneled lobby. That's the conceit behind Hemingway Hotels & Resort, a new "hospitality chain" that plans to open fancy hotels in Papa-approved places like Key West, Havana (good luck with that), Paris, Venice "and in other beautiful places around the world, in cities and in nature, on beaches and in mountains." Hemingway's estate is behind the brand, and we can only hope the chain will have a canary in every room, which will be a clean, well-lighted place. [Page Views]
An interview with Smashwords CEO Mark Coker He mainly gloats about company's recent standoff with PayPal, in which the e-book publishing juggernaut defended his right to sell oddball erotica, just as long as it's legal. Also, he lets it slip that the authors of incest erotica are "incredibly articulate and well-spoken." [Fast Company]
I Am the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Is just one of the shabbily produced copycat titles that are confusing Amazon buyers who don't know the exact title and author of the popular book they want to buy, and also don't consider why a hugely successful book has cover art that looks like something on a pamphlet from the 18th century. Other faux bestsellers available via Amazon include Thirty-Five Shades of Grey, Twilight New Moon, and Steve Jobs, a biography of the Apple founder by one "Isaac Worthington," who is most definitely not Walter Isacson. Amazon -- which Fortune cheekily suggests should really consider rebranding itself Spamazon -- has since yanked Worthington's title. [Fortune via Melville House]
A bookish duplex Former HarperCollins executive Jane Friedman gives The Wall Street Journal a tour 4,062-square-foot Manhattan duplex, which is full of reading material -- 10,000 volumes, give or take. That requires creative shelving, most notably "wooden shelves set against the wall in the shape of a tree." One branch has a picture of her kids, while the other is stocked with "a slate of biographies of various figures, including Lauren Bacall, Katharine Hepburn, Princess Diana, Richard Nixon and Keith Richards." Even the bathrooms are well-read: The upstairs one is "papered in wallpaper that resembles bookshelves, displaying the spines of fiction paperbacks such as Jack Kerouac's On the Road," while another downstairs is "covered by old manuscripts and pages from books such as The Stranger." The joke is that Friedman is now CEO of Open Road, a digital publisher, and admits she now "often reads on her Kindle." [The Wall Street Journal]