Today in books and publishing: Nick Horby says Fever Pitch didn't make football middle class; William Gass' gruff acceptance of e-books; Tampa bookstore for sale; Apple won't settle with DOJ.
William Gass comes around to e-books. In 1999, William H. Gass wrote a defining essay on the value of real, pulp-and-print books—"A Defense of the Book." He's an author known for crafting long and difficult novels like The Tunnel, but now, this former critic of all things digital (for him, the Internet is "interbunk") has produced a work that can only be accessed on e-readers. "Abstractions Arrive: Having Been There All the Time," is a 15,000-word Gass essay that features photographs by Michael Eastman. Speaking with The New York Times' David Streitfeld, Gass offers this defense of the e-book: "It’s great for me. That’s my attitude. I don’t write for the reader. I’m working for the text, the object coming into existence. It makes its demands. Then, like a child you’ve raised, it goes off into its business, not mine." [The New York Times]
Tampa bookstore up for grabs. One of Tampa, Florida's only independent bookstores is looking for a buyer. Longtime business partners Carla Jimenez (a former lawyer) and Leslie Reiner (a former nurse) have run Inkwood Books with a personal touch for two decades in a city that long relied on chain stores. The bookstore has put on events with authors like David Sedaris, Emeril Legasse, and Ralph Nader, and offered readers unique deals. For example, if you buy a left-leaning political book, you get a right-leaning book at half-price, or vice versa. The owners insist this isn't the end of Inkwood. Jimenez has been wanting to retire for awhile now, and Reiner says she wouldn't want to run the store without her. "I could do it," she says, "but it wouldn't be as much fun." Certain investors have shown interest in maintaing Inkwood's traditions. [Tampa Bay Times]
Nick Hornby defends his love of football. Now that his book Fever Pitch has been inducted into the pantheon of modern classics, novelist Nick Hornby reflects on his love of football. "English football has changed since Fever Pitch was published in 1992," he writes in today's Telegraph. "Indeed, more has happened in the last 20 years than in the previous 70 or 80." Ticket prices are up, players have gotten better, and crowds have toned down the hooliganism. But he insists his book hasn't been responsible for brining soccer to the middle class. "I'd love to claim some credit for significant social and cultural change, however regrettable, but I can't; I am not being modest when I suggest that the owner of an international media empire has had a more profound effect on British sport than my first book." As the Telegraph notes in this slideshow, Hornby's not the only author who has vocally supported football. [The Telegraph]
Apple won't settle. The Department of Justice has suggested that Apple settle along with three publishers at the center of an e-books price-fixing lawsuit. The company behind iBooks rejected the proposal though, saying it would rather go to court. In a memo filed with the DOJ, Apple writes, "The Proposed Judgment penalizes Apple in a manner that is inconsistent with the public interest and the law ... This result also is inconsistent with the fundamental tenet of agency relationships, not justified by proven facts, and has been overwhelmingly opposed by the public." [Galley Cat]
Genetically encoded books. Shelves are one way to store books. An external drive full of e-books also works. But how about encoding books in DNA? [The Guardian]
Nineties readz. We all remember the music we listened to in the '90s. Movies and fashion from the era also figure strongly in the public nostalgia-sphere. But what were we reading? Publishers Weekly finds out. [Publishers Weekly]
Flannery O'Connor, misunderstood. An English professor once wrote to Flannery O'Connor for clarification on her story "A Good Man is Hard to Find." He wondered if he and his students' conclusion that "the appearance of the Misfit is not 'real' in the same sense that the incidents of the first half of the story are real" held any water. In "a state of shock," O'Connor responded, "The interpretation of your ninety students and three teachers is fantastic and about as far from my intentions as it could get to be." [Letters of Note]