Facebook Acquires E-publisher, the Downside of E-readers, 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:

Facebook has purchased digital book publisher Push Pop Press, creators of Our Choice, an interactive book designed for the iPad and iPhone written by former vice president Al Gore. According to Facebook, the acquisition doesn't mean it intends to publish books, but rather, “the ideas and technology behind Push Pop Press will be integrated with Facebook, giving people even richer ways to share their stories.” (New York Times)

The New York Post reports that negotiations between Barnes & Noble chair Leonard Riggio and billionaire media-mogul John Malone, which are aimed at Malone's purchase of 70 percent stake in the company, have "hit a rough patch."

Many New York City booksellers are also aspiring writers—some of them are even accomplished novelists. To name a few, Jami Attenberg, Martha Southgate, and Emma Straub have all published well-received books and man the registers at neighborhood shops. AM New York presents a few unpublished clerks whose titles may be on store shelves soon.

A Kindle sure makes toting aroundMoby-Dickeasier—you don’t even have to carry around a bookmark—and, yes, they save trees, but are e-readers as green as you think? The folks at inReads present digital-reader shortcomings that “amidst rising popularity…might be ignored.”

For all those writers prone to distraction (meaning, writers who write), the New York Times’ Gadgetwise offers a roundup of four "distraction-free" text editors that turn off notifications, network connections, and present “you with a blank, bare screen,” allowing for full concentration while reading and writing.

Four thousand book enthusiasts gathered in Chicago recently as part of the the seventh annual Printers’ Ball, a literary festival founded by Poetry magazine, to celebrate the vitality of small publishers. (Economist)

As the U.S. debt crises continues to unfold, here’s your literary-themed money news: Forbes probes New York States' e-book tax-exempt policy; the Wall Street Journal reveals how certain Amazon employees are forbidden to travel to states unfriendly to the online retailer's embattled tax stance; “What is the name of the debtor’s prison in Dickens’s Little Dorrit?—the Guardian offers a "debt in literature" quiz; and Flavorpill lists ten books about the "filthy rich."