Amazon Reaches Deal with Simon & Schuster, Atavist Books to Shutter, and More


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:

Amazon has reached a new sales agreement with Simon & Schuster. The multi-year deal, confirmed on Monday, will give the publisher control over the price of its digital and print books, and “maintains the author’s share of income generated by e-book sales.” Amazon noted in a statement that the deal provides a “financial incentive” for Simon & Schuster to lower their book prices, though the details of such incentives have not been disclosed. The Internet retailer has yet to reach an agreement in its ongoing dispute with Hachette. (Publishers Weekly)

An organization called First Book will oversee a new digital platform called We Need Books, part of a larger project called We Give Books that donates books to children in need. The new digital platform features over three hundred children’s books. The Pearson Foundation, which originally developed the project with Penguin Group (USA), will donate 1.3 million dollars to First Book as part of the project. (GalleyCat)

Inspired by art? The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston is holding an Ekphrastic poetry competition called ARTlines2. Writers may submit original poems responding to five works of art on view at the museum. Entries are accepted until November 30. Winners will receive one thousand dollars, and will be published alongside the artworks in an Ekphrastic poetry anthology. This year’s judges are Robert Pinsky, David M. Parsons, Patricia Smith, Mary Szybist, and Roberto Tejada.

After launching operations just last March, Atavist Books will close the end of 2014. The publisher, which was founded by media mogul Barry Diller and film producer Scott Rudin in conjunction with online magazine the Atavist, developed a digital-first model and published a mix of print and digital-only titles, including Karen Russell’s recent novella, Sleep Donation. (Los Angeles Times)

According to a report from the International Publishers Association, the United Kingdom publishes more books per inhabitant than anywhere in the world. More than twenty new titles were released every hour over the past year. (Guardian)

Are all books intended for young readers “good” for them? At the New Yorker, Rebecca Mead explores the “bad books for children” debate, and whether or not certain popular books, while attractive to children, might repel them from engaging with more difficult texts later on.

The annual Interactive Fiction awards are currently taking place. The awards honor the best new text-based video games. The current climate of technological advances in mobile platforms and e-reader devices has created new opportunities for interactive fiction writers and designers to create new games and attract a broader range of players.  (Guardian)