paper trail

May 23, 2013 @ 2:05:00 pm

At the New Yorker’s Page Turner blog, Ian Crouch explores the idea that it is perfectly natural to forget many of the books one reads: “Books aren’t just about us, as readers. They belong perhaps mainly to the writer, who along with his narrator, is a thief. I wonder what writers forget about their own books?”

Though it occupies a legal gray area, the whole idea behind fan fiction is that anybody can write it and readers don’t have to pay to read it. At least, that was how things worked until Wednesday, when Amazon unveiled Kindle Worlds: a new system that allows writers to self-publish their fan fiction with the sanction of the original copyright holder. If authors sign up, they give fans permission to riff on their works, and should those book sell, “the fan fiction authors will get 35% of net revenue for full-length books; Amazon and the original copyright owner will split the other 65%.” So far, Alloy Entertainment, the company that owns the Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and Vampire Diaries franchises have joined, but authors with traditional publishing houses (including E.L. James and Stephanie Meyer) have kept their distance.

Why The Great Gatsby is really about the housing crisis.

The editorial exodus continues at Granta: it was announced this week that Philip Gwyn Jones, the executive publisher of the UK-based literary magazine, would be leaving his post, and that billionaire publisher Sigrid Rausing will be taking over “full operational and executive control of Granta Publications.” The magazine began showing signs of upheaval last month when editor John Freeman resigned, three other longtime staffers left, and Granta closed its New York office.

Penguin has agreed to pay $75 million in damages and “costs and fees to resolve all antitrust claims relating to eBook pricing.”

According to the BBC, the world’s first paperless public library will open this summer in a poor part of San Antonio, Texas. The library, BiblioTech, won’t have any books, but it will be outfitted with dozens of computers, a hundred e-readers on loan, and over ten thousand digital titles.