Today in books and publishing: Apple and publishers settle in Europe; Marco Roth irritates Dwight Garner; movie moguls announce e-books venture; Wikipedia e-books.
Hollywood hotshots migrate to smaller screens. In July we mentioned that Barry Diller and Scott Rudin were discussing doing something with e-books, and now there's an official announcement. Rudin and Diller are partnering with Frances Coady (a publishing veteran who's held top positions at Picador USA, Macmillan and Random House) to form Brightline, an e-book publishing partnership with Brooklyn's Atavist. Diller, who is chairman of IAC/InterActiveCorp which invested $20 million in the venture, says, "The book business has a concentrated number of players and is unquestionably in transition. There is a possibility here that if we start with a blank piece of paper that you could hit the opportunity that exists in the book business now." No titles have been announced yet, but Rudin's connections with authors like Michael Chabon and Jonathan Franzen as one of Hollywood's most profilic producers of movies based on books, could lead to some big literary gets for Brightline. They hope to move into physical book publishing eventually. [The New York Times]
Sandusky victim to release tell-all. The one major book to be released in the wake of the Sandusky molestation trial, Paterno, shed little light on the scandal. Now, one of the boys molested by Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky will tell his side of the story in a book to be released in October, according to the New York Post's Page 6. ABC News will have an exclusive interview with the 18-year-old author, who took to the witness stand to testify in the Sandusky trial as Victim 1. [New York Post]
Dwight Garner doesn't want to hang out with Marco Roth. The Scientists is n + 1 founding editor Marco Roth's memoir of a precocious, pampered upbringing turned tragic. He was the only child of a doctor and classical musician, raised "amid the vanished liberal culture of Manhattan’s Upper West Side," according to the book jacket summary. But his intellectual, privileged world wasn't immune from the horrors of HIV. His father contracted the then-bewildering diesease in the early '80s, when Roth was still attending The Dalton School. The New York Times' Dwight Garner finds that Roth "frequently veers close to brilliance, and lingers there for long stretches" in The Scientists, but he's turned off by Roth's self absorption. "I was impressed by how unlikable—how needy and ineffectual, how effete and whiny—Mr. Roth was willing to seem. He emerges in The Scientists as one very coddled egghead." [The New York Times]
Wik-e-books. Wikipedia gets a lot of flak for their articles' inaccuracies and sloppy citations, but recent books from traditional publishers haven't been either. So why shouldn't Wikipedia make moves toward bookish legitimacy? The Wikimedia Foundation is now letting users turn lengthy Wikipedia entries into free e-books, so you can close that Glass-Steagall Act tab you've had open for weeks. It'll probably be easier to focus on it using a Kindle. [NBC News]
Korean presidential hopeful Ahn Cheol-soo reads cyberpunk. Announcing his bid for the South Korean presidency, independent politician Ahn Cheol-soo quoted Neuromancer author William Gibson's line on forging an egalitarian future. "The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed," he cited. On Twitter, Gibson seemed flattered but busy. [The Korea Times]
Settlement concessions in EU e-books case. Apple and a handful of publishers still plan to fight the DoJ's e-books price-fixing charges, but in a similar European case, they want to settle. Apple and all the major publishers except for Penguin have agreed to let Amazon and other e-tailers hawk e-books for low prices in exchange for an end to EU antitrust proceedings. If the settlement goes through, "the four publishers will not restrict, limit or impede e-book retailers' ability to set, alter or reduce retail prices for e-books and/or to offer discounts or promotions" for two years, according to a European Commission summary of the settlement terms. A month window is now open to third party comments, after which the settlement will be up for approval. [Reuters]