Robert McCrum argues that everybody needs to chill out about Google’s digitization project because “there is a line of argument, from historical principles, that says copyright is inalienable.” (On another note, I continue to wear my tinfoil hat and predict that Google will sell our deepest secrets, culled from Gmail, to the devil direct marketers and spammers for a song.)
A love letter to the founder of Penguin “begins in a publishing industry that was chaotically amateurish, run in tumbledown Bloomsbury houses. It ends in a chilly new atmosphere of open-plan offices and hard-headed sales conferences, where backlists are pulped, the marketers make decisions on what we are allowed to read and publishers crave a ‘synergistic’ alliance with movie studios or television networks.”
A writer named Richard was lured away from his supportive first publisher with the offer of a two-book deal and the promise to position his third book as publisher #2’s lead title. It’s kind of like the Ray Charles story, except Ray triumphed, while Richard’s move nearly ended his career.
For its New Writing line, Macmillan has done away with advances and required authors to foot the bill for editing. Last week Hari Kunzru (who received a whopping advance for his first novel) called it “the Ryanair of publishing — it’s like having to pay for your own uniforms.” Stewart Dalby disagrees (as did the Grumpy Old Bookman).
At Splinters, Chris reponds to a U.K. bookseller’s guarantee of shelf space for selected self-published authors.