So let’s just start with the elephant in the room. Hachette started to accuse Amazon of shenanigans, delaying deliver of its books to readers. Then Publisher’s Weekly wondered if the agency model could survive, or whether publishers will have to go back to individual negotiations. Mike Shatzkin weighed in with his always-thoughtful commentary, reminding us that both Amazon and B&N are publishers’ largest distributors, and Amazon itself has not been making that much from the deal. Then Amazon doubled down, straight up refusing orders for even J.K. Rowling’s upcoming book and some book pages have disappeared entirely. At least one author, Nina Laden, is up in arms, lashing out at Amazon on her Facebook page, and from the looks of my own Facebook page, there is mutiny afoot by others in the writing community. And over at Salon, Laura Miller wonders why can’t publishers quit Amazon too? How will it all play out? Stay tuned.
The 500lb gorilla in the room across from the elephant is Rush Limbaugh’s nomination by the Children’s Choice Award as author of the year. To say people went ballistic is to put it mildly. There was this takedown in Kirkus, with descriptions like “God-awful. I mean really, breathtakingly, laughably terrible,” which is quite different from a review in Booklist before all the kerfuffle was stirred up. (Though the review does begin: “There are a lot of things wrong with Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims.”) The main dustup was over the fact that Limbuagh bought several thousand of his own books to drive up sales, which he then gave away, and one of the criteria that the CCA used to nominate authors, were book sales. Limbaugh then went on to encourage his followers to vote for him even though only kids are supposed to vote. There were a few reasoned responses around the web including Emma Dryden with her own thoughts on whether there is true value for the reader in book awards. Which then reminded me of this Chad Prevost post about how prestige might be getting in our way. Needless to say, I’m pretty sure the award will be taking a long hard look at their rules for next year.
Meanwhile, in other non-Earth-shattering news:
Rainbow Rowell answers some hostile questions (hey did you know her upcoming novel is adult fiction?)
The media thinks John Green is the savior of children’s publishing, and this librarian and this children’s book author and university professor smacks them down for so, so much wrong in their coverage, not the least of which is billing another straight white male as kid lit Jesus.
Andrea Davis Pinkney delivers an address at University of Minnesota Children’s Literature Research Collections, in which she quotes Frederick Douglas, sings snippets of Wade in the Water and We Shall Overcome, and performs as different characters in her life and in black history, and imagines a world where May Hill Arbuthnot (for whom the lecture is named) and Zora Neale Hurston may have been friends, or Emmet Till and Travon Martin may have attended college together. She ends in a blue hoodie. Chilling. Brilliant. I hear there’s going to be a recording soon. I hope so.