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Likely Stories

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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Friday, February 12, 2010 1:00 pm
Weeklings: Books Are Elitist, Blogs Are for Old People, and Kirkus Has a New Owner
Posted by: Keir Graff

I finally made time to read Jonathan Mahler’s profile of James Patterson (“James Patterson Inc.New York Times) — since it was published, two weeks ago, Patterson has already written three more books and signed a contract to publish 38 more.

I kid, I kid. But, certainly, this profile of the prolific Patterson’s powerful publishing apparatus could probably have run in the business section. (It reminds me of Eric Konigsberg’s profile of Harlan Coben, “Paperback Writer,” in the Atlantic a few years back.)

My favorite quote from the “critic-proof” author was his jibe at another bestseller (“I’m sorry my good friend Stephen King couldn’t be here,” he began. “It must be bingo night in Bangor.”) — but my favorite quote overall came from Larry Kirshbaum, former C.E.O. of the Time Warner Book Group:

“Jim was sensitive to the fact that books carry a kind of elitist persona, and he wanted his books to be enticing to people who might not have done so well in school and were inclined to look at books as a headache,” Kirshbaum says. “He wanted his jackets to say, ‘Buy me, read me, have fun — this isn’t “Moby Dick.” ’ ”

Meanwhile, on the Daily Beast, William Boot asks and answers the question, “Do I have to read James Patterson?” (Answer: no.)

Cross’s own arid interior monologue, which feels like an editor’s notes accidentally inserted into the text: “What was this about, and how had it led to the death of Caroline Cross? Where else would it lead?”

In other news, a new study report that blogging is for old people (“Is blogging a slog? Some young people think so,” by Martha Irvine, AP).

“It’s a matter of typing quickly. People these days don’t find reading that fun,” the 18-year-old student says.

Long Live BooksWhich makes sense, because even Twitter is for old people (“Twitter not all that popular among teenagers, report finds,” by Donna St. George, Washington Post). Although, apparently, young people are finding that pixels aren’t always preferable to pages: in Japan, some cell-phone novels (ketai) go on to paperback success (“For Japan’s Cellphone Novelists, Proof of Success Is in the Print,” by Yuriko Nagano, Los Angeles Times). And even those who like e-readers miss hardcovers, as evidenced by this new iPadMacBook/Kindle cover. (Via.)

And, finally, the new owner of Kirkus Reviews is . . . Herb Simon, who also owns the Indiana Pacers (Media Decoder). First Editor & Publisher gets bought by Boating World and now this. What’s next? Cat Fancy buys Library Journal? Let’s pray it doesn’t come to pass.

Meanwhile, Simon’s first public act as new owner was to announce that Pacers legend Reggie Miller will be editor-at-large and shooting guard for Kirkus.

I kid, I kid.



One Response to “Weeklings: Books Are Elitist, Blogs Are for Old People, and Kirkus Has a New Owner”
  1. Joel Says:

    As long as there’s a job for Rik Smits (the Dunking Deutschmann), I fully support the new owner of Kirkus.

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