World's Last Typewriter Factory Closes, Product Placement in Books, 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:

The last typewriter factory in the world, located in Mumbai, India, has closed its doors. (Daily Mail)

New York University's Fales Library, which houses an extensive collection of rare books and manuscripts, will host its annual lecture this evening with Paul Muldoon holding forth on "The Missives of Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell."

According to the Wall Street Journal, a reporter has self-published a book that is filled with product placements and advertisements for companies who in turn helped finance and market Harry Hits the Road: Adventures in Love, Labor and Modern Manhood.

In the wake of the latest controversy over a memoir, National Public Radio looks into why it's so difficult for publishers to vet autobiography and nonfiction.

Penguin Group has announced a new initiative for genre writers called Book Country, a Web site where aspiring genre novelists can post chapters and manuscripts and receive critiques from other writers. The site will also explain basic elements of publishing such as how to find an agent and how to promote and market a book; at a later date, Book Country will also offer self-publishing services. (New York Times)

According to TechCrunch, Amazon has launched a new "content destination" called the Backstory where customers can watch author interviews and read lists of authors' favorite books, recipes, podcasts, and essays.

Speaking of Amazon, last week a biologist found two copies of a book about insects on sale at the online retail giant's Web site for twenty-three million dollars and eighteen million dollars respectively, with competing automatic bookseller algorithms to blame for raising the price on the book, which is also selling used for thirty-five dollars. (it is NOT junk)

Celebrated Chinese author Liao Yiwu has been banned by his government from traveling to the PEN World Voices Festival in New York City this week. In a press release from the PEN American Center condemning the ban, Salman Rushdie said, "One of China’s most censored writers, Liao’s groundbreaking writing has for years been off limits to his fellow citizens; now his government seeks to extend the long arm of censorship overseas.”