Hachette Revenue Up Despite Amazon Dispute, Pig Pen Sedaris Is Flattered, 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:

Despite its dispute with Amazon, Hachette Book Group reports that revenue in the first half of 2014 rose 5.6 percent over sales in the first half of 2013. Publishers Weekly quotes Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch as saying, “It is gratifying to have first half sales that exceed last year’s, especially in light of recent market challenges.”

A sociologist at Queens College in Flushing, New York, says the industry stigma about self-publishing is quickly disappearing as many well-known independent authors make a fortune self-publishing online. (NPR)

Novelist Amy Tan writes about moving from place to place as a child (before she graduated from high school her family lived in thirteen different houses in the San Francisco area) and the new house she and her husband built in Sausalito, which reflects their desire for permanence while taking into consideration the author's Lyme disease. (Wall Street Journal)

There's a new independent bookstore in Berkeley, California: Bookish. According to Berkeleyside, the store features "a fresh stock of books and a stylish makeover," but owner Gina Davidson says it's all about the location: "If I can’t make a bookstore work here in Berkeley, all is lost.”

In other indie bookstore news, Powell's Books will reopen two rooms that were closed for a six-month renovation today. (Oregonian)

Heller McAlpin reviews Yelena Akhtiorskaya's Panic in a Suitcase for the Los Angeles Times, describing the debut novel, which was included in Poets & Writers Magazine's First Fiction 2014, as "a high-impact verbal workout that may leave you breathless." (Jacket Copy)

There's a neighborhood in Missoula, Montana, that is home to four Harry Potter–themed streets, including Muggle Lane. Some of its residents even refer to it as Potterville. (BuzzFeed)

After officials in West Sussex, England, "honored" author David Sedaris, who apparently picks up trash in the South Downs neighborhood, by naming a waste vehicle after him (they christened it Pig Pen Sedaris) the Guardian's ShortCuts blog asks the author whether he is flattered by the distinction.