Does the Book Business Deserve to Die? Reading Norman Mailer in Cuba, 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 this sober take on the state of the publishing industry, Curtis White—academic, social critic, and president of the board of Directors of the Center for Book Culture—writes, "As far as I’m concerned, the book business deserves to die if for no other reason than that its business model is something out of the 1930s." (Lapham's Quarterly)

Barnes & Noble has launched an online marketplace to increase its product offerings.

Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill will expand its books list to include young adult titles. Elise Howard, formerly associate publisher of books for young readers at HarperCollins, will head up the new list from Algonquin's New York City office. (Shelf Awareness)

The New York Times features a relatively young community bookstore, WORD, in Brooklyn, New York—despite opening only four years ago; the shop has devoted customers and a steady stream of well-attended readings.

In a response to Florida governor Rick Scott's demand that state universities evaluate courses for their economic worth, the Miami Herald comes to the defense of the writing of poetry.

Novelist Ann Beattie writes of her home in Maine, located midway between New York City and vacationland to the north, which provides a rest stop for weary traveling friends, and like those of the pilgrims in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, there are many stories to share. (New York Times)

Contrary to a widely held belief, the writings of North American authors were not banned in Castro's Cuba. Writer José Manuel Prieto discusses the authors he read as a child, including Norman Mailer. (Paris Review)

Wondering "why can't we buy individual poems like we do songs," Architrave Press, in an attempt to "reclaim poetry for non-poets," publishes poems on single pages "that allow readers to curate their own collection in the same way that music lovers create playlists."