Today in books and publishing: Figures keep climbing in Dunham deal speculation; Fifty Shades spoof targeted; McNally Robinson stores change hands; Amazon keeps adaptations in-house.
Lena Dunham's book is going for $3.6 million, people are saying. The book advance rumor mill has been churning out lots of big, big numbers lately! It was originally reported that Lena Dunham was attaching a $1 million price tag to her proposal for a book blending advice and personal essays tentatively titled Not That Kind of Girl. Now, Deadline is reporting that publishers are bidding $3.6 million for the book. As you know, faithful reader, we're highly skeptical of such unsourced, hyped-up reports about seven-figure book deals. They turn out to be wrong pretty regularly, and we suspect the numbers originate from the parties trying to sell the book rather than those trying to buy it. Being the director of a much-discussed HBO show and the sleeper hit film Tiny Furniture, Dunham stands to make a pretty penny for her book, of course. But we'd be wary at this point in the negotiating process. It could happen ... but will it? [Deadline]
Fifty Shades of copyright infringement. Many LOLs were had on the Internet when OR Books offered free copies of their parody book Fifty Shades of Louisa May to anyone willing to part with their copy of Fifty Shades of Grey. But the publisher of E.L. James' book, Random House, was not amused by the fictionalized erotic diary of Little Women author Louisa May Alcott, and they were especially peeved at the cover OR Books selected. Paul Bogaards, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group executive director of publicity, says Random House sicced their lawyers on OR Books to stop them from publishing the rip-off jacket design. "The issue was not about the parody but the use of our cover art to help promote it," says Bogaards. Co-founder of OR Books John Oakes isn't intimidated, though. "I’m not sure you can publish a book parody without a pretty close link to the original’s cover: even when we made fun of poor Sarah Palin and her autobiography neither she nor Harper sent a lawyer to call," he tells GalleyCat's Dianna Dilworth. "We at OR will conduct a séance to check in with the shade of Louisa May Alcott (and her agent), but I doubt we shall bow to the forces of Midtown." [GalleyCat]
Amazon aims for full vertical integration of the book economy. Amazon started off selling books. Then it began publishing them. Now the company is taking the next logical step toward total book-world domination: Amazon Studios is optioning the film rights to Amazon-published books. The first slated for big-screen adaptation is Ania Ahlborn's horror novel SEED. The Amazon Studios project dates back to November 2010, undertaking the goal of "content development" for Amazon products. Amazon Studios’ director Roy Price says, "Ania Ahlborn’s SEED has been a top seller for Amazon Publishing’s 47North so we already have a sense of the mainstream attraction of the story and are excited to keep the project in-house for movie development." [The Next Web]
McNally Robinson sold to employees. The ownership of McNally Robinson bookstores, the Canadian cousins of New York bookstore McNally Jackson, is being transferred to longtime employees. Paul McNally says he and his co-founding wife Molly McNally, both in their mid-60s, "really shouldn't be doing this for too, too much longer." So over the next three to four years, they'll transfer ownership of the of their Winnipeg outlet in the Grant Park Shopping Centre to Chris Hall, senior inventory manager, and store controller Lori Baker. The McNally Robinson stores have created a successful niche in parts of Canada, hosting author appearances and other events. But an attempt to expand three years ago ended in a court-appointed period of bankruptcy protection. [Winnipeg Free Press]