Hachette Rejects Amazon Proposal, a New Reading Device for the Blind, 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:

Amazon recently proposed that Hachette allow its authors to keep 100 percent of the revenue from e-book sales while the two companies remain at an impasse over a new e-book contract. After Hachette rejected the proposal yesterday, referring to it as potentially “suicidal” for the publisher while unlikely to affect the Internet retailer, Amazon replied in a statement that negotiators at Hachette “absolutely want their authors caught in the middle of this negotiation because they believe it increases their leverage.” (Wall Street Journal)

Meanwhile, Paris-based journalist Pamela Druckerman explains France's so-called anti-Amazon law, recently passed by the country’s parliament, and Parisians’ respect for brick-and-mortar bookstores. (New York Times)

Google filed an appeal last week defending its book scanning project—specifically the use of "snippets," or previews of scanned books—in the wake of its recent victory in the Authors Guild vs. HathiTrust case, in which the project was deemed as fair use. While siding with the scanning project, Judge Harold Baer noted that the previews should not be used. (Publishers Weekly)

Police in New Haven, Connecticut, have arrested a thirty-four-year-old man in connection with the recent attack on novelist Colum McCann. (Hartford Courant)

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are in the midst of creating an audio reading device for the blind, which will be worn on a user’s index finger and will read text from a book or other printed material aloud. (Boston.com)

After going on hiatus in 2014 due to lack of funding provided by the Mexican government, the Spanish language book fair LéaLA will return to Los Angeles in 2015. (Los Angeles Times)

Bookseller Susan Coll reflects on the art of shelving in the Atlantic.

Author Zadie Smith considers British novelist J. G. Ballard’s scandalous book Crash, published in 1973. (Guardian)