paper trail

Jan 4, 2013 @ 12:01:00 am

The Harry Ransom Center, on the University of Texas at Austin campus; one of the big buyers of writers' papers.

The New York Times profiles Uzoamaka (Max) Maduka, editor-in-chief of the newly launched American Reader, and living “proof that even in this iPhone age, some paper-based dreams have not died: bright young things, it seems, are still coming to New York, smoking too much and starting perfect-bound literary journals.”

John Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962, but according to newly declassified documents, he wasn’t anybody’s top choice: "There aren't any obvious candidates for the Nobel prize,” committee member Henry Olsson wrote of the decision, adding, “the prize committee is in an unenviable situation."

The New York Review of Books is gearing up for a splashy fiftieth birthday party.

How much does an author’s junk go for on the open market? That depends on how good your broker is, says the Wall Street Journal in article on the growth of the (still very tiny) profession of . Broker Ken Lopez spent two decades marketing for authors like Peter Matthiessen and William S. Burroughs before going into the trade, and now Lopez “puts prices for interesting paper piles at $30,000 to $300,000.” Most of the sales are to large research libraries or universities like Emory in Atlanta, which in 2006, spent “an undisclosed amount” on two hundred of Salman Rushdie’s "falling apart, crappy cardboard boxes.”

Barnes and Noble’s holiday sales were so lackluster—10.9 percent lower than sales over the same nine-week period the year before—that experts are wondering whether the company will be able stay afloat. Worse, sales of the Nook e-reader dropped 12.6 percent from last year. “They are not selling the devices, they are not selling books and traffic is down,” consultant Michael Shatzkin told the New York Times. “I’m looking for an optimistic sign and not seeing one. It is concerning.”

Here’s one possible explanation for why the release date for Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby has been borne back into late Spring: Jay-Z is composing the film’s score.