paper trail

Joan Didion goes electronic; Mrs. Jeff Bezos slams Amazon book

Douglas Coupland

Brad Stone, author of the new book The Everything Store, has made a new enemy in Mackenzie Bezos—the Amazon founder’s wife. In a 900-word, one-star review on Amazon, Mackenzie Bezos criticized the book for inaccuracy, bias, and failing to include accounts of the “supportive and inspiring culture" that exists at Amazon. For a more impartial take, read Astra Taylor’s review of The Everything Store in the Dec/Jan issue of Bookforum.

Relatedly, in a long, thoughtful post on Reuters, Felix Salmon interrogates the belief that Amazon is a mortal threat to books, and ends up arguing that what the company is mostly shifting power away from publishers and towards booksellers.

Zola Books, a new startup that is angling to be a “bookseller, curator, and social-networking site all in one,” is distinguishing itself by offering e-versions of Joan Didion books that up until now have not been available digitally. In addition to Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Zola is also offering The White Album, Play It as It Lays, Miami, and After Henry, as well as a number of books by Didion’s late husband, John Gregory Dunne.

Sci-fi author Douglas Coupland is going to serialize his next novel in the free subway paper Metro. The novel, Temp, will run in installments between November 4th and 29th, and is about a temp named Shannon. Here’s the first sentence of the book: "Greetings. My name is Shannon. I'm a temp, but more than that, I'm the future of employment in the Western world. Sure, you may have a job right now, but one day you'll be me."

Ninety-eight small British publishers went out of business last year—a 42 percent increase from the year before.

The audiobook of Morrissey’s autobiography will be read by Morrissey—but not the man you think. The narrator of the memoir will not be the singer, but actor David Morrissey, who has appeared on a number of high-profile TV series, including State of Play, Red Riding, and The Walking Dead.