Today in books and publishing: ASI lures in writers with stock publishing consultant; Franzen essay to be staged; publisher settlements; Junot Díaz loved Encyclopedia Brown.
The stock-photo-in-trade of Author Solutions. From pay-for-positive-review schemes to misleading get-rich-quick promises, self-publishing companies don't have the classiest track record. Now, blogger Emily Seuss has uncovered another shady practice undertaken by Author Solutions (ASI). The Google+ account of an "Awesome Publishing Consultant" named Jared Silverstone that followed her didn't seem quite right. Silverstone is listed as being from Bloomington, Indiana—the home of ASI headquarters. His photo seemed fishy too, so she searched "mustache" on iStockphoto, and found the mug of "Jared Silverstone" in the stock photo database. Turns out Silverstone was a fake consultant cobbled together by Author Solutions to lure aspiring authors toward their services. When word of the Jared Silverstone charade got out, ASI took him down across all social media platforms. [Seuss's Pieces]
Junot Díaz talks Tolkien, Bolaño, Encyclopedia Brown and more. For this week's By the Book, The New York Times interviews Junot Díaz, author of Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and the upcoming story collection This Is How You Lose Her. The Q&A covers a pretty wide terrain, with Díaz dropping insightful and often irreverent quotes about J.R.R. Tolkien ("I continue to wrestle with Tolkien for reasons that have much to do with growing up in the shadow of my own Dark Lord — that’s what some dictators really become in the imagination of the nations they afflict"), Roberto Bolaño ("Latin American letters [wherever it may reside] has never had a greater, more disturbing avenging angel") and Encyclopedia Brown ("Sobol did more to flip gender scripts in my head than almost anybody in my early years"). For anyone looking to pick up a new graphic novel, short story collection, or book about the Dominican-American experience, Díaz is a font of recommendations. [The New York Times]
Staging Jonathan Franzen. The author of The Corrections and Freedom is getting the Off Broadway treatment for his essay "House for Sale." In the piece, Franzen writes about his attempts, shortly after his mother died, to sell the home he grew up in for a decent price. Rob Campbell, Christina Rouner, Lisa Joyce, Merritt Janson and Michael Rudko will appear in Daniel Fish's stage adaptation at the Duke on 42nd Street. Fish is known for adapting "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again," another seminal contemporary essay from Franzen's friend David Foster Wallace. The performance of "House for Sale" will run from Oct. 21st through Nov. 18th. [Los Angeles Times]
How publisher settlements will affect e-book prices. Now that a handful of publishers are settling with a handful of states over the DOJ's e-book collusion suit, the price-point of e-books might come down as much as 30 percent, reports The Boston Globe. Typical Apple iBookstore prices ($14.99) may come down to typical Amazon prices ($9.99). "The price reductions are already happening," says Michael Norris, an analyst with the Trade Books Group at Simba Information. "Amazon is already starting to lower the prices of e-books." Across the Atlantic, Apple and publishers are trying to reach a settlement over the European Union's antitrust investigation into alleged e-book price fixing. [The Boston Globe]
Dublinesque, reviewed. In his review of Enrique Vila-Matas' Dublinesque, Ryan Healy writes, "Vila-Matas’s program throughout has become, with love: We need to hate literature more." [Los Angeles Review of Books]
New books in the 33 1/3 series. Bloomsbury's series of slim tomes on classic records is getting 18 new entries over the next two years. Michael Jackson's Dangerous, Richard Hell and the Voidoids' Blank Generation and Hole's Live Through This are among the albums getting the 33 1/3 treatment. [33 1/3 Blogspot]
Celebrate with Pippa Middleton. In her upcoming party planning book Celebrate the Duchess of Cambridge's younger sister will teach us how to entertain. Boy, that's some cover! [The Bookseller]