Today in books and publishing: Amazon's fresh out of Kindle Fires; on the 'authenticity memoir'; states ready to end Apple e-book suit; controversial Paterno bio sells like hotcakes.
Kindle Fire sold out. This e-books craze has caught on like so much wildfire that it ended up burning right through Amazon's entire stock of Kindle Fires. (Sorry, we'll extinguish these fire puns now.) "Kindle Fire is sold out," Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a press release this morning. "But we have an exciting roadmap ahead—we will continue to offer our customers the best hardware, the best prices, the best customer service, the best cross-platform interoperability, and the best content ecosystem." Business Insider notes that Amazon, which captured 22% of the tablet market with the Kindle Fire, is holding a media event next week where they'll likely unfurl the next-generation Kindle model. [Business Insider]
Back when Williamsburg was really real. In his Bookforum review of Robert Anasi's The Last Bohemia: Scenes from the Life of Williamsburg, Stephen Squibb discusses the "authenticity memoir," a niche genre he defines as:
a subgenre self-conscious about overly romanticizing a lost world of drugs and violence and art, precisely as it overly romanticizes a lost world of drugs and violence and art. Either these books are nostalgiacs addressed to the kinds of people who inhabit them, or they're postcards intended for the ones who need to be told, on every page, just how really real that shit was, really.
States and publishers reach $69 million settlement. Maryland, Ohio, Texas and other states have reached a $69 million settlement with HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Hachette over the DOJ's e-book price collusion lawsuit. The settlement has to be approved by a New York federal judge to go through, and judges have been prickly about allowing these settlements in the past. "Unlawful collusion and price-fixing not only violates antitrust laws, it is anti-competitive and inconsistent with the free market approach that is critical to our economy," says Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. "Today’s settlements provide refunds to customers who paid artificially inflated prices for e-books." Apple, Macmillan and Penguin Group remain uninterested in settlement, dedicated to taking the DOJ's suit to court. [Bloomberg]
Announcing this year's PEN award winners. The club of writers who've received one of the PEN American Center's literary awards is spotted with greats like Don DeLillo, Annie Proux, and Philip Roth. PEN just announced a new slate of awards, with novelist Susan Nussbaum winning the Bellwether Prize of Socially Engaged Fiction and Vanessa Veselka taking the Robert W. Binham Prize for her novel Zazen. The late Christopher Hitchens took the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. He's in good company, with past winners including Annie Dillard, Stanley Fish, and Marilynne Robinson. New York Times columnist Dan Barry won the ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing, Robert K. Massie got the Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography, and James Gleick won the E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. [The New York Times]
'Paterno' is No. 1. Joe Posnanski's biography of Penn State's former football coach Joe Paterno might seem ill-timed, since we recently learned that Paterno turned a willfully blind eye to assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's serial child sex abuse, but reader's can't get enough of Paterno. It debuted at the top of the adult nonfiction bestseller list. Book purchases were particularly high in Pennsylvania, and overall, the book is the fifteenth best-selling title across all categories. At 11,439 copies sold, it has topped sales of the previous bestseller, Dinesh D'Souza's conservative take on the presidency Obama's America. [Publishers Weekly]
Kurt Vonnegut's contractually obligated chores. Early in his marriage to Jane Marie Cox, Vonnegut signed a written agreement to "scrub the bathroom and kitchen floors once a week, on a day and hour of my own choosing." Of course, only on condition that she "not nag, heckle, or otherwise disturb me on the subject." [Harper's]
The term 'picture book' usually refers to children's fare, but filmmaker Patrick Keller notes that many serious adult books—from W.G. Sebald's The Rings of Saturn to André Breton's Nadja—have pictures too. [The Guardian]