paper trail

Aug 1, 2013 @ 12:55:00 am

Young Neil Gaiman

Because the target audience for Boris Kachka’s history of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux is, well, people who work in publishing, publisher Simon and Schuster has made it clear that if professional book people want to read Hothouse, they’re going to have to pay for it. In a glossy brochure sent out this week, Simon and Schuster announced that “since your requests for Hothouse have left us (gratefully) overwhelmed, we’ve instituted a No Free Copies policy–even if your name’s in the book.”

Westbourne Press, a small publisher based in the UK, is pushing up the publication date of Reza Aslan’s Zealot after a strange Fox News interview rocketed the book to the best-selling spot on Amazon in the US. In the interview—which got more than five million hits on Buzzfeed—presenter Lauren Green repeatedly asked Aslan why, as a Muslim, he felt qualified to write a book about Jesus.

President Obama angered indie booksellers around the country this week by appearing at an Amazon warehouse in Chattanooga, Tennessee as part of a nationwide jobs tour. In an open letter to the president, American Booksellers Association head Oren Teicher called the appearance “greatly misguided” and criticized the notion that Amazon is good for the American economy. "At a time when Main Street retailers, including indie bookstores, show promise of recovering from the recession,” Teicher wrote, “we are disheartened to see Amazon touted as a 'jobs creator' and its warehouse facility used as a backdrop for an important jobs speech, when, frankly, the exact opposite is true." Obama’s appearance was timed to coincide with news that Amazon is adding 7,000 new jobs across its service centers.

The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, Austin, has acquired the archives of McSweeney’s, Dave Egger’s fifteen-year-old publishing company. The Ransom Center announced the news in a press release this week, saying that the archive includes “manuscripts of the books, essays and short stories it has published, as well as correspondence from its work with writers like David Foster Wallace, Rick Moody, Zadie Smith, Michael Chabon, and Heidi Julavits.” The archive will be open to the public as soon as it’s been catalogued and processed.

Also in Dave Eggers news, Abdulrahman Zeitoun, the real-life basis of Eggers’s post-Katrina novel Zeitoun, has been found not guilty of attempted first-degree murder after he was accused of hiring a hitman to murder his wife.

Finally, here are some photos of famous authors as teenagers.