The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.
- Amazon has launched a new store and a pickup center with Purdue University, its second university store after the retailer teamed up with the University of California, Davis, earlier this year. The store (or “cobranded experience,” as Amazon calls it) gives a small percentage of sales to the university. This will be the first Amazon store to provide pickup and drop-off sites on campus. “With the pressure on college campuses to reduce costs, this new way of doing business has the potential to change the book-buying landscape for students and their families,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said in a statement quoted by Publishers Weekly.
- Graham Hillard has a new poem, “Balletomane,” in The Believer:
“First the murmuring, then the air turned peculiar:
the sudden, stifling closeness of two thousand breaths
drawn and held like the fermata before an entrance.”
- Rebecca Mead considers the question of guilty pleasures: “The fallacy that the pleasures offered by reading must necessarily be pleasures to which a self-defeating sense of shame is attached offers a very impoverished definition of gratification, whatever book we choose to pull from the shelf.”
- For Guernica, Jess Row writes about whiteness, blackness and James Baldwin’s Another Country: “My version of Another Country would have to begin with whiteness, the unnamed, unresolved, guilty whiteness of 90s liberals, hidden under irony and subterfuge: fake dreadlocks, tribal tattoos, unconvincing DJ names. Whiteness that was doing everything possible to act as if it no longer mattered.”
- X-Files star Gillian Anderson — she of the quizzical brow — is coming out with a sci-fi thriller novel, cowritten by Jeff Rovin. Simon & Schuster has an excerpt.
- Bookstore sales fell 7.9 percent in the first half of 2014, compared with the same period last year.