Dani Shapiro on Memoir in the Digital Age, the Importance of Independent Bookstores, 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:

“We live in a time in which little is concealed, and that pressure valve—the one that every writer is intimate with—rarely has a chance to fill and fill to the point of explosion.” At the New Yorker, author Dani Shapiro writes about the meaning of memoir, and the importance of taking one's time, in the age of instant expression and gratification via social media.

Amazon has responded to the recent protest letter by German-language authors regarding the retailer’s battle with publisher Bonnier over e-book prices. The response accuses Bonnier of setting prices too high, adding, “The fact is Bonnier’s terms are out of step with other major German publishers. We are working diligently with Bonnier to reach a new agreement more in line with typical industry terms in Germany.” (Publishers Weekly)

And on the subject of the Internet giant, the Guardian calls Amazon vice president and head of Kindle operations “the most powerful man in publishing.”

Meanwhile, Tom Robere of New Directions writes a compelling case for independent bookstores, noting that in the midst of the ongoing Amazon/Hachette battle, indie shops are now more necessary than ever. (Publishing Perspectives)

A group of lawyers is fighting for a different interpretation of the famous Shakespeare quote from Henry VI, Part 2, “The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.” (Wall Street Journal)

J. K. Rowling has returned to the land of Harry Potter, with a new short story on the Pottermore website. The story centers around the minor character Celestina Warbeck, a singing sorceress never seen in the series (though one of her songs was included in the sixth book), whom Rowling says has nonetheless been a “part of the Potter world ever since its inception." (NPR)

Salon profiles self-published author Drac Von Stoller, who has written 155 books and is currently waging a private battle with Amazon, where his books boast an average rating of one and a half stars.

Writer Eckhart Tolle is launching his own imprint, Eckhart Tolle Editions, at New World Library, with the first titles scheduled for release next spring. (GalleyCat)