Antitrust Lawsuit, Fifty Shades of Grey, 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:

Coverage of the potential antitrust lawsuit aimed at Apple and large publishers figures large in the news, with the Washington Post suggesting "pick your monopoly;" the Atlantic asking, "How cheap should books be?" and author and Author's Guild president Scott Turow writing that the agency model adopted by publishers caused Amazon to lose "its chokehold on the e-book market."

HTML Giant reports the National Endowment for the Arts refused an application from a BlazeVOX books author because "BlazeVOX books has asked authors to contribute to the cost of publishing their own books," which violates the NEA's eligibility requirements.

Barnes and Noble is expanding an initiative it began in the fall of offering a boutique within the bookstore selling books and other products (such as coffee mugs and tote bags) associated with Penguin. (Wall Street Journal)

Fifty Shades of Grey, a best-selling erotic novel written by E. L. James and published by a small press in Australia, has appealed to readers across genres, and launched a seven-figure bidding war among the major publishers, won by Vintage Books. (New York Times)

Poet Charles Bernstein writes that PennSound has made available over one hundred recordings of 1990s-era readings at the Ear Inn in New York City. Bernstein and Ted Greenwald began the Saturday afternoon reading series in 1978. Its first readers were John Ashbery and Michael Lally. (Jacket2)

In this essay for the New York Review of Books, Elaine Blair examines the prominence of the romantic loser in fiction, citing work by Jonathan Franzen, David Foster Wallace, Gary Shteyngart, and Sam Lipsyte, among others.

Flavorwire wonders if Bret Easton Ellis is working on a sequel to American Psycho, and scrutinizes his Twitter feed for clues.

March Madness is upon us, and McSweeney's offers an open letter to the guy who thinks he's going to win the NCAA Tournament office pool.

Today marks the ninetieth birthday of Jack Kerouac. When he was nineteen, the young author wrote in his diary, "I shall be a denizen of the Underground, or a successful man of the world. There shall be no compromise!!! I mean it." (Explore)