The Book Industry Faces Supply Chain Challenges, the Limits of Serialized Fiction, and More

by Staff
10.4.21

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—publishing reports, literary dispatches, academic announcements, and more—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories.

Elizabeth A. Harris of the New York Times reports on how the publishing industry has been touched by the global supply chain crisis. Overseas and in the United States, there have been delays at every stage of the book production process—from printing to transportation—leading bookstores to run out of stock and publishers to delay publication dates. “Trucks are more expensive, containers are more expensive, labor is more expensive,” commented Jon Yaged of Macmillan.

Chicago Tribune columnist John Warner doesn’t anticipate that serialized fiction will take off again, despite the news that several high-profile authors, including Salman Rushdie and Chuck Palahniuk, have decided to publish fiction projects on Substack. He argues the model only works for established authors: “Expecting to build a paying audience for serial fiction from scratch is a near impossible order.” 

“The larger project of literature, I think, is devoted to the notion that people can’t change or an individual might change a little bit or even substantially, but by and large, people are the same old people.” In conversation with Merve Emre, Jonathan Franzen discusses how rare it is for a person to change in either literature or real life. (Vulture)

Michelle Zauner, the author of Crying in H Mart, discusses claiming her Koreanness: “I realized that if it was something that I wanted to feel like really belonged to me, I was going to have to start putting work in to preserve it.” (Code Switch)

Myriam J. A. Chancy celebrates fellow Caribbean writers who “seek to illustrate the wide range of human experience from perspectives particular to their home islands.” (Electric Literature)

Entertainment Weekly has revealed the cover designs for new editions of Joan Didion’s past works. Each book will feature a different portrait of the celebrated author.

Zibby Books has brought on a slate of new staff members, including Jaunique Sealey, Maya Shanbhag Lang, and Steph Opitz. (Publishers Weekly)

Nominations are open for James Patterson’s annual Holiday Bookstore Bonus Program, through which he will distribute $250,000 between 500 booksellers. (Shelf Awareness)