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  • Feedback: The Pulitzers and American Book Prizes

    Welcome to a new regular feature called Feedback. Each week, we'll ask a question to get your perspective on a publishing-world issue. This week, we ask about the Pulitzers and American book prizes.

  • Close Cover Before Striking

    It has oft been said—and oft despairingly—that the book business has become more and more like the TV and movie biz, what with the corporate ownership, the philistine sensibilities, the blockbuster mentality and the focus on the bottom line. Books these days are supposed to “open” like Brad Pitt films and run like Law & Order.

  • Hearing Other Voices

    Quick: name two books originally published in a language other than English that have recently shown up on bestseller lists. Okay, maybe you can name one: Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez, recently picked by Oprah and opening next week as a feature film; or two: Irène Némirovsky's Suite Française.

  • I Got the Horse Right Here

    If it's fall, it must be book awards time. Early October saw the Nobel in literature go to Doris Lessing (and a share of the Peace Prize to activist/author Al Gore); last week was the awarding of the Quills and the Whiting Writers Awards. Coming up: the National Book Awards, the NBCC nominations and, in the spring, the Pulitzers.

  • Stet the Edit

    I'm sure you know the old publishing saw about how editors don't have time to edit any more, so busy are they with acquisitions and catalogue copy. It's a tragedy, book people opine: where would, say, Wolfe have been without Perkins, Faulkner without Erskine, Conroy without Talese? So how could anyone fail to appreciate the irony of last week's revelation that Tess Gallagher, the widow of Raym...

  • Weltgeist in Frankfurt

    Here are some things “everybody” knows about Frankfurt. (1) The hotels are hideously expensive (especially during Book Fair week), the food is bad and the weather is worse. (2) Since so much of the work is done in the evening over cocktails, or late dinners, you don't schedule appointments before 10 a.

  • Go On, Get Happy

    The book business, like all fashion businesses, has trends that are often predictable. Election year? Bring on the political books. Internet surging? Get out some geek guides. Baby boomers aging and simultaneously regretting and romancing their wayward ways? Calls for some redemptive memoirs, I'd wager.

  • Reviews Are Mixed

    Apparently, when you're in the book reviewing business, you just can't win. Mostly, over the past year, we've heard about what we, as a culture, are losing in terms of book coverage. To wit: several major newspapers have faced major cutbacks and/or other changes in their book-reviewing departments. The Chicago Tribune moved its Sunday stand-alone section to Saturday, for example; the L.

  • Chicken Soup in China

    As if we needed more proof that globalization is for real, I recently learned that late last year, quietly and without fanfare, the Florida-based self-help publisher HCI made a deal with a Chinese publisher to release up to 164 versions of its Chicken Soup for the Fill-in-the-Blank Soul in China. The books, which will be chosen from the 100-plus titles now published in dozens of countries and l...

  • Stir Frey

    Is it canniness or coincidence that HarperCollins released news of its purchase of disgraced memoirist James Frey's new novel on the eve of Beaufort Books' publication of If I Did It, the souped-up confession from the murderous disgrace O.J. Simpson? (The latter, of course, is almost the selfsame book that Harper Collins canceled nine months ago.

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