Bookstore Sales Dip, Charles Dickens, Best Book Cover Designs of 2013, 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:

Bookstore sales dipped 1 percent in October compared to 2012. (Shelf Awareness)

The Barnes & Noble in Pleasant Hill, California, will close at the end of this month. It is currently the town’s only bookstore. (San Jose Mercury News)

Random House acquired the rights to publish a nineteenth-century prison memoir by a man named Austin Reed. Scholars believe it is the oldest prison memoir in existence penned by an African American writer. Yale’s Beinecke Library purchased the manuscript in 2009. (New York Times)

Meanwhile, a scholar at Boston University has a theory that “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens may have been inspired by the factory workers of Lowell, Massachusetts, where the acclaimed author visited in 1842. (Boston Globe)

In contrast to the trend of older publications ceasing print in exchange for digital offerings, some online publications such the Los Angeles Review of Books are embracing print. (Los Angeles Times)

An appearance by poet Richard Blanco was recently advertised on a highway billboard in Syracuse, New York. Reflecting on the honor, Blanco wrote on his Facebook page, “Could it be possible: a world someday filled with billboards for poets, painters, sculptors, and writers?” (2paragraphs)

The New York Times selects the best book cover designs of 2013.