Today in books and publishing: Publishers close but many stores open; 419 author takes Canada's big literary award; Mo Yan-brand liquor; will Penguin have to change its look for the merger?
Surveying the hurricane's damage to publishing, booksellers. As we reported yesterday, many bookstores were spared in Hurricane Sandy's passing through New York. Though power remains out for many Manhattan stores like McNally Jackson and Housing Works, booksellers in Brooklyn have already started reopening their doors—with the unfortunate exception of powerHouse Books in DUMBO. Owner Daniel Power estimates that the 28 inches of flooding his store sustained has caused anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000. That's bad news for a store that lacks flood insurance. See powerHouse's twitter stream for the ugly aftermath, as well as the New York Daily News' video below for the cleanup efforts. As for the New York City offices of publishers, most are closed, with many lacking power and Internet. Lest we forget, New York isn't the only place where books are bought and sold. Shelf Awareness has the most comprehensive roundup of affected bookstores, including how locations in Connecticut, New Jersey, Vermont, and Delaware weathered the storm. [New York Daily News]
Will Ferguson takes 2012's Giller. Canada really goes all out for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. As all out as Canada can go, anyway. Televised on the CBC, the black tie ceremony for the country's swankiest literary award had Kim Cattrall, an Olympic gold medalist, and other celebrities introduce the authors. So author Will Ferguson might have looked a bit out of place dressed in a Scottish kilt, but he could get away with it last night. The Calgary author took home the Giller for his novel 419, a quick-plotted thriller. The genre title is an unusual pick for this literary prize, which Ferguson acknowledged by thanking the award panel for "taking books on their own merits without any preconceptions, which is what jurors are supposed to do." He also noted the show-biz quality of the ceremony, saying, "I love the fact that in Canada literature is given the red-carpet treatment ... This is such an eccentric, eclectic, weird country." Ferguson will take home $50,000 in prize money. [The Globe & Mail]
Will Penguin look different post-merger? On top of all the jobs that hang in the balance with the Penguin Random House merger, there's the issue of Penguin's distinctive design aesthetic. Readers can spot a penguin paperback from across the bookstore, thanks to their geometrical covers, orange accents, and cartoon penguin logo. It's hard to imagine that Penguin Random House will entirely throw away those design traditions, but the merger will inevitably put control over how books look into new hands. "Penguin stood for a democratization of design," typography professor Phil Baines tells The Guardian's Oliver Wainwright. "It marked a change in perception, that design wasn't just for monied people any more." Let's hope that approach isn't squashed by the sheer size of Penguin Random House. [The Guardian]
Drink the Mo Yan way. "Mo Mania" continues to sweep China, making one impulsive drunk a very lucky man. An engineer told West China Metropolis Daily that someone paid him 10 million yuan (approximately $1.6 million) for a liquor name he registered on a whim after a night of heavy boozing. This ordinary guy bought the rights to "Mo Yan Zhui" for just 1,000 yuan back in 2006 because he thought it was funny (the name translates as "do not say that you are drunk"). Now, a real liquor manufacturer thinks thirsty Mo Yan readers will be lining up to drink liquor that bears his name, so they purchased the rights for a small fortune. "Thanks to Mo, I can now sell the brand for 10 million yuan," Mr. Hou told the newspaper. "After I got the money, I plan to spend some of it on charitable works." [Shanghai Daily]
University of North Carolina Press editor retiring. David Perry is stepping down from his editor-in-chief position at the University of North Carolina Press, a job he's held for the last 17 years. Under his reign, the publisher focussed on Southern history, especially the Civil War. He began his career at the UNC Press in 1979 as an editorial assistant. [Publishers Weekly]