Books Columnists Fired, Unbound and Struggling, 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 venerable Los Angeles Times has announced layoffs, including freelance book reviewers and columnists, as well as blogger editor Tony Pierce (Publishers Weekly). A few letters of farewell from former staff members were posted online yesterday (LA Observed).

Unbound, a London-based "kickstarter for books" that launched in May, is reportedly struggling to publish any titles. Of the six books it has attempted to garner funding for, only one, Evil Machines by Monty Python veteran Terry Jones, has surpassed its goal. (Business Week)

If you'd rather purchase a Kindle at a store, you can swing by Toys "R" Us, and those interested in a Nook can venture inside an Office Max. (Reuters)

From the Department of Incredibly Cruel Jokes comes this story of a self-published young-adult writer fooled into believing she'd landed a two hundred thousand dollar publishing deal (or fifty thousand after the agent took a 75 percent commission—clearly intended as the punch line). (Observer and Writer Beware)

Attorney and romance writer Courtney Milan adds her thoughts to the debate over agents acting as e-book publishers. She writes, "agents who publish their clients are engaging in unethical behavior."

Shelf Awareness has the skinny on this year's Banned Books Week. Held in 2011 from September 24 to October 1, readers, booksellers, and librarians from around the globe are encouraged to post videos of themselves reading from their favorite banned books on a dedicated YouTube channel.

New York–based literary magazine, n+1 is now in podcast form!

Warey Myers designed this alarming books installation for the new offices of an advertising agency in Portland, Maine. The offices are in a building that once contained the Portland Public Library. (Boing Boing)