Amazon Avoids State Sales Tax While Kindle Makes Billions, Hating the MFA, and More

by Staff

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today's stories:

After her recent memoir received criticism over the fact that, in her recalling of life as a new widow, Joyce Carol Oates neglected to mention that she met someone new fairly quickly and was remarried within thirteen months. In the new issue of the New York Review of Books, Oates defends her narrative. (via Guardian)

Chinese poet Liao Yiwu has been banned by his government from traveling to the Sydney Writers' Festival in Australia. Another author who will appear at the festival, Linda Jaivin, said, ''The crazy thing is that by denying Liao Yiwu permission to travel, the Chinese government has given his work a massive publicity bonus overseas—just as few outside China knew about Liu Xiaobo before his arrest and subsequent Nobel prize, or the artist Ai Weiwei before his detention on April 3 this year." (Sydney Morning Herald)

According to the International Business Times, Amazon's Kindle may make the online retail giant as much as $5.42 billion in 2011 alone as "the most compelling eBook device" on the market.

In more Amazon news, the online retail giant continues its quest to avoid paying state sales tax by expanding its fulfillment center in Arizona (Arizona Republic) and opening another fulfillment center in Indiana (RTV6); both states, unlike others such as South Carolina and Texas, are "reluctant to press Amazon to collect sales tax."

Smashing Pumpkins frontman Bill Corgan is writing a spiritual memoir, according to Rolling Stone.

Penguin Press has a new publisher: after a four year stint at the Wylie Agency, Scott Moyers is returning to Penguin as its publisher, while current publisher and president Ann Godoff will drop the "publisher" title and add "editor in chief." (New York Times)

Random House and Lucasfilm are releasing the entire catalogue of Star Wars titles as e-books. (USA Today)

Why do people hate MFA programs? The Los Angeles Review of Books tackles that and three other pertinent questions about creative writing.