Michael Chabon Criticizes e-Royalties, Neal Pollack's Candor, 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:

The Guardian speaks with top publishers about the books they believe deserved better from the marketplace, and the titles they most wanted to publish that instead landed at a rival house.

With e-book editions of his early novels Mysteries of Pittsburgh and Wonder Boys recently released by Open Road Media, novelist Michael Chabon has choice words to say about the standard e-book royalty rate set by Apple, Amazon, and other publishers. (Los Angeles Times)

True Colors, a forty-year-old independent bookstore in Minnesota, is in danger of closing. (Star Tribune)

Neal Pollack writes with candor about the dips and spikes of his career, from authoring the first title published by Dave Eggers's McSweeney's Books to receiving a "bloated advance from HarperCollins" and now to self-publishing his sixth book, Jewball. (Publishing Perspectives)

In an odd combination of humor and gravitas, former president Bill Clinton and comedic actress Mindy Kaling appeared together on television yesterday to discuss their favorite books, including work by poet Seamus Heaney. (MSNBC)

Bored to Death, an HBO series based on a Jonathan Ames story published in McSweeney's, which starred Jason Schwartzman, Zach Galifianakis, and Ted Danson, will not be renewed for its fourth season. (Hollywood Reporter)

A former NYU professor has filed a lawsuit claiming he was fired as a result of a poor grade given to actor James Franco for missing class (Slate). Franco attended NYU's film school while simultaneously pursuing an MFA in fiction at Columbia, as well as producing a movie about the life of the poet Hart Crane, among numerous projects. This story has now gone international and been given the (warning: graphic) Taiwanese news animation treatment.

Meanwhile, the first trailer for Peter Jackson's new adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit was released. (Los Angeles Times)