Baghdad's Booksellers Market Is Back, Publishers Skeptical of Borders' Plan, 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:

The booksellers market in Baghdad, which was devastated by a car bomb that killed twenty-six people four years ago, is now open again and thriving. "Mutanabi Street is the cultural catharsis point for Iraqis," says one bookseller. "Mutanabi is a place where intellectuals of Iraq come, not just to buy books but to see the new place, to see the statue of Mutanabi, to meet friends on a Friday." A patron adds: "This is not a place where you gather. Here, it is the place that gathers you." (Reuters)

Borders presented its restructuring plan to publishers, and they were not impressed. “None of it gave us any reason to think they can get themselves out of this," one publisher said. "I don’t think it’s changed anybody’s mind.” (New York Times)

As the centenary of Czesław Miłosz's birth approaches, with a year of celebrations planned around the world, Seamus Heaney remembers and honors the Polish bard and his life's work. (Guardian)

The fifth annual Literary Orange Festival takes place this Saturday at the UC Irvine student center in California, featuring Ron Hanson, Richard Lange, and Tatjana Soli. (Jacket Copy)

Scott Turow, president of the Authors Guild, wrote the New York Times with his reaction to the rejected Google Books Settlement, saying "The dream of a virtual library of out-of-print books is dead, for now. Perhaps a legislative route may be found instead; we hope that the settlement shows how it can be done." 

The one that got away: An editor recalls falling in love with Téa Obreht's The Tiger's Wife as a manuscript, and then losing it at auction to another publishing house. (Read It Forward)

The state librarian of Kansas has rejected two contract proposals from OverDrive, an e-book vendor that, according to one Kansas , doesn't really have a competitor. The proposals increase OverDrive's administrative fees 700 percent by 2014, according to Library Journal, which is a major problem when library budgets themselves are being slashed. "My own budget has been cut 26 percent and to expect that kind of increase is unreasonable," said state library director Jo Budler. "This is just for the platform, no content. It means we won't have any content money."

How important are book cover designs and blurbs? The Awl asked six writers for advice.