Salmon Rushdie is attacked during speech in western New York

(Fri, 12 Aug 2022 11:13:31 -0500)

The attack happened at about 10:45 a.m. shortly after Mr. Rushdie took the stage to deliver a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution. The author spent years living in hiding after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran called for his execution in 1989.

Mr. Rushdie was transported by helicopter to a local hospital, the state police said in a statement. His condition is not yet known.

Agents have their say in DOJ v PRH

(Fri, 12 Aug 2022 10:49:24 -0500)

Thursday's proceedings in the Department of Justice's efforts to block Penguin Random House's acquisition of Simon & Schuster started with the remainder of testimony from Norton's John Glusman and ended with the testimony of literary agent Gail Ross of Ross/Yoon. In this first full day for the defense, a great deal of time was spent on the submission and acquisition processes in publishing and how these affect book advances, from the perspectives of publishers (Glusman, and later Putnam's Sally Kim), authors (Charles Duhigg), and agents (Elyse Cheney, Ross, and Andrew Wylie).

Glusman, who in Wednesday's testimony said he didn't believe the merger would hurt advances, quipped that the Big Five "regularly overpay for books" and that Norton is impacted directly "because we end up losing authors. We don't overpay for books. We pay on the basis of what we project for sales." In his opinion, midlist authors will be harmed by the proposed merger.

PW recaps the first week of U.S. Dept. of Justice's court case to block Penguin Random House from buying Simon & Schuster

(Mon, 8 Aug 2022 12:16:03 -0500)

A compilation of PW's coverage of U.S. v. Bertelsmann SE & CO. KGaA, et al., the U.S. Department of Justice's bid to block Penguin Random House's acquisition of rival Big Five publisher Simon & Schuster, with the most recent coverage up top...

David McCullough, best-selling explorer of America's past, dies at 89

(Mon, 8 Aug 2022 11:57:32 -0500)

David McCullough, who was known to millions as an award-winning, best-selling author and an appealing television host and narrator with a rare gift for recreating the great events and characters of America's past, died on Sunday at his home in Hingham Mass. He was 89.

Mr. McCullough won Pulitzer Prizes for two presidential biographies, "Truman" (1992) and "John Adams" (2001). He received National Book Awards for "The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal" (1977) and "Mornings on Horseback" (1981), about the young Theodore Roosevelt and his family.

Michigan library defunded after refusing to censor LGBTQ authors

(Fri, 5 Aug 2022 18:46:06 -0500)

A small-town library is at risk of shutting down after residents of Jamestown, Michigan, voted to defund it rather than tolerate certain LGBTQ+-themed books.

Residents voted on Tuesday to block a renewal of funds tied to property taxes, Bridge Michigan reported.

The vote leaves the library with funds through the first quarter of next year. Once a reserve fund is used up, it would be forced to close, Larry Walton, the library board's president, told Bridge Michigan – harming not just readers but the community at large. Beyond books, residents visit the library for its wifi, he said, and it houses the very room where the vote took place.

Judge backs dismissal of 'implausible' Amazon, Big Five price-fixing suit

(Fri, 5 Aug 2022 14:25:12 -0500)

Just one week after a marathon hearing in a New York courtroom, a federal judge has recommended that a potential consumer class action lawsuit accusing Amazon and the Big Five publishers of a conspiracy to fix e-book prices be dismissed... from the outset of the case, lawyers for Amazon and the publishers have insisted the alleged conspiracy was "irrational" and "implausible" and that there was simply no evidence to suggest collusion of any kind. In a thoroughly reasoned 54-page report, issued August 3, magistrate judge Valerie Figueredo agreed.

Stephen King testifies against merger of publishing giants

(Wed, 3 Aug 2022 10:55:34 -0500)

American horror novelist Stephen King is taking on a new monster: corporate consolidation.

The author was the star witness in an anti-trust trial to block the two biggest US publishers' $2.2bn merger.

The US Department of Justice called on King to testify about how the proposed tie-up of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster could affect authors.

King, 75, told the court in Washington DC that he felt "the move would be bad for competition in the industry".

Both publishing houses have argued the merger would not hinder competition because the companies would continue to bid against each other for the rights to publish novels, even after the transaction is finalized.

DOJ trial to block PRH/S&S merger begins

(Mon, 1 Aug 2022 10:30:47 -0500)

The government's bid to block Penguin Random House's acquisition of rival Big Five publisher Simon & Schuster gets underway today in Washington, D.C., today, with the case expected to run about three weeks. Meanwhile, filings made public late on July 29 shed light on a lingering pre-trial evidence dispute that could impact PRH's defense.

The dispute involves PRH's claims that its acquisition of Simon & Schuster would create "cognizable merger-specific efficiencies." But according to court filings, PRH's expert witness, Edward Snyder, conceded in his testimony he did not seek to independently verify the numbers he used in forming his opinion on such efficiencies...

Stone Barrington novelist Stuart Woods dies at 84

(Fri, 29 Jul 2022 10:41:53 -0500)

Stuart Woods, author of more than 90 novels, many featuring the character of lawyer-investigator Stone Barrington, has died. He was 84.

Woods passed away in his sleep on July 22 at his home in Litchfield County, Connecticut, his publicist, Katie Grinch, said Wednesday.

James Lovelock, scientist, author and creator of Gaia hypothesis, dies on 103rd birthday

(Wed, 27 Jul 2022 06:00:00 -0500)

James Lovelock, the creator of the Gaia hypothesis and author of a number of books on the topic, has died on his 103rd birthday. The climate scientist died at home on Tuesday surrounded by loved ones, his family said.

Lovelock, who was one of the UK's most respected independent scientists, had been in good health until six months ago, when he had a bad fall.

Known as something of a maverick, he had been dispensing predictions from his one-man laboratory since the mid-1960s, and in his old age he continued to work.

His Gaia hypothesis posits that life on Earth is a self-regulating community of organisms interacting with each other and their surroundings. He said two years ago that the biosphere was in the last 1% of its life.