News & Notes is a weekly Saturday post featuring book- and publishing-related news, links to interesting articles and opinion pieces, and other cool stuff
Hilary Mantel, bestselling author of the Wolf Hall trilogy and a number of other works, died on Sept. 22, 2022, three days after suffering a stroke. She was 70.
Wolf Hall (2009), a historical novel about Thomas Cromwell (minister to Henry VIII), garnered both critical and popular acclaim and won the Booker Prize. The sequel, 2012’s Bring Up the Bodies, also won the Booker Prize, while the third book in the trilogy, The Mirror and the Light, was longlisted.
Obituaries: The Guardian; New York Times; NPR; Publishers Weekly; Washington Post. Tributes: The Guardian; NPR. Bibliography and Biography: Goodreads; Wikipedia
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- Amazon reforms ebook return policies in response to union concerns, according to the (British) Society of Authors. Specifically, Amazon says it will limit self-return if a customer has read more than 10% of the book, thus curtailing the tactic, widely promoted on TikTok, of reading the book and returning it before the previous 14-day limit. (I suspect it will still be possible to return a book through customer service, if there’s an actual issue with the book as opposed to the content.) It is not clear from the article whether this policy will be limited to Amazon UK or will also apply to Kindlebooks purchased in the US and other parts of the world.
- Court Dismisses ‘Implausible’ Price-Fixing Suits Against Amazon, Big Five Publishers (Publishers Weekly)
- 2021 Was a Stellar Year for Publishing (Publishers Weekly) Overall, sales were up over 2022, and in some categories, over 2019 as well. Adult fiction, childrens/YA fiction, and religious presses saw the biggest gains. Ebooks sales shrank about 5%, and physical audio went down 23%, but all other formats saw double-digit gains except mass market, which went up a mere 3%. (Publishers Weekly)
- Chairman Raskin, Senator Schatz Introduce Bicameral Resolution Recognizing Banned Books Week (House Committee on Oversight and Reform)
- Barefoot Books Turns 30, Re-Embraces Traditional Markets (Publishers Weekly)
- We Are a Picturesque Small Town and We Refuse To Be the Setting For Your Romantic Comedy (Rachel Mans McKenny, for McSweeny’s) Hilariously accurate sendup of small-town rom-com tropes.
- Truth Is Trouble: Toni Morrison’s Advocacy Against Censorship (New York Public Library)
- Panic at the Library examines “the sinister history of fumigating ‘foreign’ books” to eliminate bookworms (the insect kind.) (Lapham’s Quarterly)
For Writers & Bloggers
Books, Movies, and TV
- Universal TV Boards ‘Valdemar Universe’ Fantasy Book Series Adaptation From Kit Williamson, Bri Cavallero & Radar Pictures (Deadline) This is the closest we’ve ever gotten to a series based on Lackey’s long-running and popular Valdemar books. The first trilogy came out in 1988-89, and she has another Valdemar book due out in November, so the franchise has considerable staying power. (And is, I freely admit, one of my favorite fantasy worlds, despite the occasionally uneven quality of her books in the past decade or so. She’s a terrific storyteller, and the world has definite appeal.)
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I’m happy to hear about Amazon’s return policy. It just doesn’t seem fair to authors to read the book and then return it. And good to hear that 2021 was a good year for books too.
Wendy recently posted…Book Review: The Three Loves of Sebastian Cooper by Zoë Folbigg
Oh that’s so sad about Hilary Mantel. I hope the return policy change is universal. That whole return tactic is just awful and maddening.
The idea of cheating authors by buying, reading, and then returning books just infuriates me, so I hope Amazon makes the policy universal, too. If people want to borrow books, that’s what the library is for. And yes, I know that the library rarely carries self-published books, but authors (regardless of how they are published) deserve to be paid for the hard work and creativity they put in. (I’m preaching to the choir here, I know!)
Nicole @ BookWyrm Knits
I hadn’t heard about that Amazon update to their ebook return policy; thanks for sharing! Hopefully it stops that dumb TikTok “lifehack”.
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