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This Week In Books

This Week in Books for May 23rd, 2016

Welcome to the inaugural edition of This Week in Books, our weekly wrap-up of the most interesting stories from the world of books and reading.


Special thanks to Penguin Random House for sponsoring this maiden voyage of This Week in Books. Enter here for a chance to win a modern reading nook stocked with books (or just click the image below).

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On to the news:

  1. The big story last week was Goodreads getting into the discounted ebook game. With its treasure trove of user data, Goodreads is positioned to deliver notifications about ebook deals to exactly the right audience. Goodreads users now can sign up to receive notifications about downpriced ebooks for titles they have on their shelves or they sign up for by genre or interest.BookBub is probably the company most likely to feel the pinch here. They have broken out as the go-to resource for both publishers and readers for ebook deals with millions of email subscribers across all genres. In fact, Goodreads might be the only company that has a wider email reach. Goodreads could really squeeze BookBub on pricing if they so desire: Amazon certainly won’t feel the pinch if they drastically undercut BookBub’s prices, and they have a reach, between email and active users of the site, that is the envy of the entire book world.
  2. Jeff Bezos says more Amazon bookstores are coming. I promise not to make this an Amazon and Some Other Stuff newsletter, but Bezos announcing that they aren’t done opening bookstores has to be included here. Frankly, I am puzzled by what Amazon is doing. Are they trying to assemble Barnes & Noble’s coffin? Reacting to the resilience of independent bookstores and physical books? Trying to get people to just like Amazon more? All of these?
  3. Dan Brown abridging The Da Vinci Code into a YA version.I have to admit that when I read The Da Vinci Code, I did not immediately think, “Boy they are really going to have to dial this back to get teenagers to read it.” As far as I can tell, it will be The Da Vinci Code just…shorter. To my knowledge, this is the first time a big commercial adult hit has been modified this way to be remarketed as YA. Are there really teenagers out there that are like, “YES I always wanted to read The Da Vinci Code but it was just too long,” as they lugged around Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows?
  4. Lena Dunham publishes her teenage diary, donates proceeds to charity. Dunham apparently came across the diary she kept in her late teens, and, because she is Lena Dunham, decided that it needed to be public. She is donating the proceeds to Girls Write Now, a surpassingly deserving organization. Dunham is more and more plugged into the book world, and is certainly unafraid to experiment.
  5. Katherine Dunn, author of Geek Love, dies at age 70.Okay, so this happened the week before last, but I am cheating because I love Geek Love and am just so sad about this. I had been waiting so long for her next novel that I had forgotten that I was waiting for it. In fact, Dunn had become one of those writers I thought of as being sort of unreal. Not dead, but just existing on a plane slightly refracted from our own and therefore largely inaccessible, like Pynchon or Ferrante. If you haven’t read Geek Love, do yourself a favor. And if you know a geeky teenager that likes to read, please make sure that they’ve heard of Dunn and Geek Love.

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