L.A. Times Book Prize Finalists
February 20, 2014

The finalists for the 34th annual L.A. Times Book Prizes were announced Wednesday morning: 50 books in 10 categories are in the running to win the L.A. Times Book Prizes, to be awarded in April. Two authors will receive special recognition: John Green with the Innovators Award and Susan Straight with the Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement.

Small Is Beautiful: Micro Bookstores Find a Place
December 9, 2013

Even before the demise of Borders, the trend of opening superstores was waning, and new bookstores were getting smaller and cozier (many were in the 3,000 to 5,000 sq. ft. range). But some bookstores, particularly in urban areas and at upscale malls, are giving meaning to the term “small business.” The cost of real estate has led a few new booksellers to opt for diminutive spaces, as tiny as 200 sq. ft. or less.

The Social Publisher
October 1, 2013

Reading a book is a solitary activity, not a social one. There are exceptions, like reading aloud to a child or a shut-in, but for the most part, reading is something you do by yourself.

Random House To Publish Novel Retellings of Shakespeare Plays
June 27, 2013

Random House’s Hogarth fiction imprint will publish prose versions of William Shakespeare‘s plays, commissioning bestselling novelists to write The Hogarth Shakespeare.

The project will open with Anne Tyler rewriting  The Taming of the Shrew and Jeanette Winterson retelling The Winter’s Tale. The program will open in 2016, marking the 400th anniversary of the great author’s passing. Winterson had this comment in the release:

Court affirms prisoner's right to read werewolf erotica
June 11, 2013

The right of all men and women to read werewolf erotica in jail has been affirmed by a California court.

Inmate Andres Martinez, currently residing in Pelican Bay State Prison, had ordered Mathilde Madden‘s The Silver Crown, a book whose Amazon page calls it a tale of “lycanthropy” (!), with the scintillating description: “Every full moon, Iris kills werewolves. It’s what she’s good at; it’s what she’s trained for. She’s never imagined doing anything else…until she falls in love with one.”

Random House Dips into Game Publishing with Free-to-Play 'The Black Crown Project'
May 31, 2013

Here's your eldritch curio for the day: Random House UK -- yes, the book publishing giant -- has released a free-to-play interactive fiction game called "The Black Crown Project."

Penned by Rob Sherman, "The Black Crown Project" is a weird fiction tale about a newly-employed clerk at the mysterious Widsith Institute whose job it is -- so far -- to read read files. I've played enough to use all my available action points twice, which has allowed me to stab a dying pig with a ballpoint pen and be carried to my desk by some arcane horror.

Random House Dabbles in Interactive Fiction With Free-to-Play Game
April 16, 2013

Random House, the world’s biggest book publisher, is dipping its toes into the wild world of interactive fiction.

Black Crown, the first “free to play online narrative game” from the publisher, is open for registration now but won’t go fully online until May, according to Random House rep Dan Frankin.

The usage of the “free-to-play” descriptor seems improbably apt, since “players” will be able to unlock new pieces of story content using virtual currency which can be purchased using real-life monies.

The Big Merge
January 1, 2013

Until the transaction is closed (likely late 2013 pending regulatory approval), official news about the Random House Penguin venture is expected to be scarce. And yet questions abound. Why did two of the biggest players in book publishing throw in their lot together? Will further contraction occur in its wake? Will this give the new entity more leverage in its negotiations with mighty Amazon? And if so, will it be enough to matter? We rang up four industry experts and asked them what—if anything—it all means for publishers and publishing.

Editor Ascendant: Michael Pietsch
January 1, 2013

Michael Pietsch is Executive Vice President and Publisher of Little, Brown and Company. On April 1 he will step into the role of CEO of the Hachette Book Group. Here Pietsch shares some thoughts about his career with Book Business.

Scholarly Kitchen Asks: Why Did Publishers Get So Big?
November 8, 2012

There's a great piece by the Scholarly Kitchen's Joseph Esposito this week that asks, in response to the latest corporate megamerger between Penguin and Random house, "Why did publishers get so big?" His breakdown of the larger forces that led to larger publishers is exquisite. —Brian Howard

Quoth Esposito:

"For many people the rationale for bigness is all-too-evident: greed. But while greed can be a strong motivator, it is not a strategy. To put this another way, why does greed always reach for bigness? What is it about bigness that makes it economically irresistible?"