James Atlas

Amazon has hired James Atlaswho wrote the definitive biography of Saul Bellow—to edit a new series of biographies called Amazon Lives, with titles scheduled to start appearing in June 2013. Amazon has been steadily preparing to become a powerful publishing presence. The company is clearly set up to sell its own titles online, but how do you sell books published by Amazon in the competition's bookstores (in Barnes and Nobles, for example)? You change the publisher’s name from Amazon Books to New Harvest Books, and you distribute them through another publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Home Depot has announced that it will stop selling books. The news—for us, at least—was that Home Depot sold books in the first place.

Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Book prize was not awarded this year because none of the one hundred and forty-eight books nominated met the Arabic book prize’s “stringent norms.”

Jonathan Franzen recently called Twitter “unspeakably irritating” spawning the hashtag #JonathanFranzenHates, and inspiring htmlgiant’s Roxane Gay to write a convincing argument for Twitter (or for doing what you want to do, as long as you do it with passion). Still, Franzen’s not a total technophobe. In a 2011 address to graduating students at Kenyon College (to be published in the forthcoming essay collection Farther Away), he waxed poetic about the beauty of his BlackBerry Bold: “I [want] to keep fondling my new Bold and experiencing the marvelous clarity of its screen, the silky action of its tiny track pad, the shocking speed of its responses, the beguiling elegance of its graphics.” (True to form, he went on to complain about the "Like" button on Facebook.)

Publishers Weekly has crunched the numbers and found that the average length of a book is 64,000 words.

The National Book Critics Circle will hold its annual awards ceremony on Thursday evening. Tonight at the New School, they'll gear up with a reading by the finalists, who include John Jeremiah Sullivan, Forest Gander, Jeffrey Eugenides, and Dana Spiotta.

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