Antitrust Lawsuit Roundup, Publicity-Shy Anne Tyler, 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:

In the continuing saga of the Department of Justice's antitrust lawsuit, a roundup of recent responses:

David Carr in the New York Times writes, "So imagine the shock when the bullet aimed at threats to competition went whizzing by Amazon—which not long ago had a 90 percent stranglehold on e-books—and instead, struck five of the six biggest publishers and Apple, a minor player in the realm of books."

Mike Shatzkin at the Shatzkin Files says, "Every company in the industry is going back to the drawing board. Only one is not unhappy about it."

And Randall White, the CEO of the Educational Development Corporation—which announced in February it would pull its titles from Amazon—told the New York Times: “Amazon is squeezing everyone out of business. I don’t like that. They’re a predator. We’re better off without them.”

Meanwhile, Amazon-owned Audible has launched Audible Author Services, a program which pays authors an "honorarium" directly out of a twenty-million dollar fund, bypassing publishers entirely. Audible CEO Donald Katz bluntly tells the Guardian: “This is an era of self-reliance which is there for the taking. This is the last generation of authors who can think of themselves as Victorian gentlemen living above the marketplace, because publishers and agents don’t have the wherewithal to support them.” (paidContent)

Trish Vickers, who is blind, began writing her first novel by hand, using pen, paper, and a system of rubber bands to guide her. She later discovered her pen had run out of ink before she started writing. Kerry Savage, a forensic specialist, worked for five months on her lunch breaks using police methods to recover the text, delivering all the missing pages to the author. (New York Times)

Despite that Trish Vickers has now switched to transcribing text on a computer, Kevin Hartnett, for the Millions, explains why he believes writing by hand is a better process.

In the wake of the outcry over the Günter Grass poem, "What Must Be Said," which is critical of Israel, Dave Eggers refused to travel to Germany to accept an award from the Günter Grass Foundation. (New York Daily News)

Publicity-shy novelist Anne Tyler recently gave her first face-to-face interview in almost forty years. (Guardian)