Please … no more vampires

When the number one and two books in Italy are Twilight and New Moon, respectively, I think it’s time to cut out the Mormon-turned-vampire novels.

What we need instead: European imports! The NYTimes has a nice little write-up of Europa Editions. The company just turned its first profit which is amazing given its old school business model. This has not gone unnoticed:

“Some larger publishers are starting to envy Europa’s selection and its frankly retro publishing model. Mr. Carroll “finds things, picks things up for a little bit of money and makes a lot out of them,” said Jonathan Galassi, publisher of Farrar, Straus & Giroux. “Most of publishing was once that way. It wasn’t about big money so much. He’s sort of preserving the old values of it’s-all-about-the-book and connecting the book with readers.””

And guess what this relates to? My post yesterday about the Harper’s article AND Kathy Griffin!!! OMGZ!1!! Didn’t think I would do it, did you? Ha! But I kid!

We carry some of these books, but now I want to read more. Let’s hear it for the hedgehog. Would you name a pet hedgehog Sonic, or is that too obvious? Maybe I’d name him Morton.

It’s a power game, stupid

Before you do anything, ANYTHING, read the article on the current state of the publishing industry from Harper’s Magazine. It’s a great run-down of the challenges that publishers face. The kicker, and I am paraphrasing an eleven page article: They did it to themselves! Harharhar! Actually: not funny. It reads like a hit piece on the Frankfurt Book Fair that’s held every year to find the next new thing. Or an attack on the money/media establishment.

“CEOs pressured editors to buy big bestsellers, which developed into the form of mutual assured destruction that is the book auction, a sales device that leads to insupportable advances and thus to virtually inevitable disappointments.”

I would link you to the article, but Harper’s still embraces a pay for content approach to their online world. Well, pay for a subscription. Though I am not on the dole, I would say it is worth it. Or just come in and buy the new issue.

And speaking of unsupportable advances … Defamer reported yesterday that Kathy Griffin herself might be taking home a cool $2 Million for a book. One. Singular.It also mentions the other two high-profile book deals that have gone down this year already.

Oh what a glorious realignment it will be.

Ok, you can go back to eating donuts and pancakes.

If you doubted the power of zombies…

Just in case there was any doubt that zombies would be taking over the world this year …

The Gray Lady herself has doubled the score.

Or just reported on a widely known meme. BLOGOSPHERE.

Though not everyone is happy: “I’m interested in anything relating to Jane,” she said. “But to me this is like Jane Austen jumping the shark.” Says Myretta Robens, site manager and co-founder of the Austen fan site Republic of Pemberley.

CODE RED! Someone needs a sense of humor, stat!

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But Mom, just five more minutes! Dick Cavett is on!

I think the internet ran away from me for a couple of days. I just found it.<3

Ok, I plead ignorance, but did you know that Dick Cavett blogs for the NYTimes? I had no idea. At anyrate, Cavett’s newest post is on John Updike and John Cheever meeting on Cavett’s show in 1981. Quite remarkable that two titans of American letters came together on a late night talk show. They were both, apparently, repeat guests. Would that even come close to happening nowadays? Could  you imagine Richard Ford or Don Delilo appearing on Conan or Letterman? Why can’t writers be late-night celebrities anymore?

(Okay, I know part of this answer, but small aside: there is an amazing article in the new issue of Harper’s Monthly about the book business and about author-celebrity and about money, etc. etc. Here’s the link, and I’ll break it out in a post latter.)

Cavett points out that Cheever and Updike were jealous of each others gifts. They both understood the self-awareness of the art they had created:

“These two great writers sitting there demonstrate the real thing. They praise each other, but in a way that transcends the usual embarrassing, chat-show, face-to-face, fulsome public flattery. (Both would strike out about a half-pound of my intensifying adjectives from that sentence.) They elevate praise to an art form.”

Cavett shows some videos and cuts to commercial … and then he finishes the post by asking everyone if he should keep talking about those two. Leave a comment with a polite and firm, “Yes, Mr. Cavett.”

Also: don’t forget the expansive Cheever biography that comes out this March. It is splendid. I’ll post a review when the book is published.

Link via NYTimes [via Bookslut]

new old Harry Potter covers

These covers are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much better. Designed by M.S. Corley to look like the old style of Penguin Classics covers.

Aw jeez why couldn’t Scholastic have changed them? They probably will someday years from now when they need to republish the books to make some quick cash. The original covers aren’t bad – they’re just boring.

My favorite is the Half-Blood Prince. Order of the Phoenix is a close second.