Amazon's Controversial Blurbing Process, Shakespeare the Stoner, and More

Evan Smith Rakoff

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:

The New York Observer probes upstart Amazon Publishing's attempts to retool the industry's blurbing process by promising to promote authors who contribute reviews for titles published by the company's imprints. '"It’s completely unethical,' said Elyse Cheney, a New York literary agent. 'That’s just not how blurbs are done.'"

An anthropologist has asked permission to exhume Shakespeare's bones in an attempt to determine his cause of death, and to prove his theory that the Bard of Avon routinely smoked Cannabis sativa, the plant from which marijuana is derived. (Time)

Colorado police arrested a suspect in relation to the recent bomb incident at a Borders bookstore. (Yahoo! News)

Poet Nick Laird bought an iPad, and immediately began exploring the over seven hundred poetry-related applications listed in the App Store. He shares his insight with the Guardian.

Charting sales figures and Amazon rankings, Robin Sullivan, publisher of Ridan Publishing, examines "the new midlist" author—self-published e-book authors who earn a living from their book sales, including Robin's husband Michael, who recently signed a six-figure contract with Hachette. (Publishing Perspectives)