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Wednesday News: Antitrust concerns for Comcast merger, China’s book banning, Publishers Weekly talks about diversity with publishers, and Walt Whitman’s advice to Oscar Wilde

Wednesday News: Antitrust concerns for Comcast merger, China’s book banning, Publishers...

According to the 16-page submission, the merger will reduce competition by providing Comcast with over 40 percent of the market for broadband internet services, and make it easier for the incumbents to hobble “over-the-top” challengers like Netflix by congesting their internet traffic.

The document, signed by antitrust experts from across the country including Columbia’s Tim Wu and Stanford’s Mark Lemley, comes as the FCC decides whether or not to approve the $45 billion merger, which was announced in February. A decision is expected in 2015. –Gigaom

China has detained a prominent scholar who helped blind dissident Chen Guangcheng flee to the United States two years ago and has banned books by eight writers in an escalating crackdown on dissent.

Guo Yushan, a founder of the Transition Institute, a think-tank that researches business regulations, reform and civil society, was detained on Thursday, his wife, Pan Haixia, said.

More than 10 police officers took him away along with his laptop, wireless router, mobile phone and iPad, she said. –Reuters

The panel drew a small but lively audience that, while more diverse than most industry gatherings, inadvertently highlighted one concern among many attendees: the people with the power to address the issue of diversity in the industry are not making it a priority. Only one senior publishing executive from a Big Five house attended the panel with the majority of the audience consisting of editorial staffers. There was only one person from marketing, cited during the program as a key department for providing support to a diverse list. –Publishers Weekly

The real subject of Whitman’s conversation wasn’t literary form; it was how to build a career in public, with all the display that self-glorifying achievement requires. We can deduce that with confidence because the first thing Whitman did when he reached his den was to give his guest a photograph of himself. Whitman had pioneered the idea that a writer in search of fame should fashion himself as a literary artifact. When Leaves of Grass was self-published in 1855 it did not have Whitman’s name on the title page; instead, it had his portrait on the preceding page, showing the author standing tall in workman’s garb, his collar open, his left hand in one pocket of his slacks, his right resting on his hip, his bearded head topped by a hat set at a cocky angle, and his eyes meeting the reader with a stare simultaneously casual and challenging. No writer had ever presented himself to the public this way, let alone so intentionally. (Or with a visible button fly.) This frontispiece is now considered, the scholars Ed Folsom and Charles M. Price write, “the most famous in literary history.” –New Republic

Tuesday News: Simon & Schuster re-contracts with Amazon, the secrets to Half Price Books’ success, Designers sue ISPs over knock-offs, and Toni Morrison’s papers go to Princeton

Tuesday News: Simon & Schuster re-contracts with Amazon, the secrets to...

The agreement, which was revealed in a letter to the publisher’s writers, gives Simon & Schuster control over e-book pricing “with some limited exceptions,” according to the letter, which was signed by Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy and obtained by the New York Times. The existing contract between Amazon and Simon & Schuster, which is owned by CNET parent CBS, was due to expire in two months. –CNET

Today we have our own publishing arm, and we produce our own stationery, calendars, and CD wallets to sell. Our wholesale division sells to museums, independent bookstores, and Barnes & Noble. We have five to six buyers traveling the country, buying remainders that we can sell at half price. If we buy too much, we sell the extras to Barnes & Noble or others. All of us in the book world feed off each other. There’s competition, but it’s all with great people.

The book industry has changed dramatically because of Amazon, e-readers, and tablets. Stores can’t ignore the fact that you can get just about any book you want while you’re in your pajamas, and it has had an effect on everyone. But there are still a lot of people who like to browse bookstores and be surprised by what they find. People like to handle paper. It’s the permanency of it. We did a survey, and our customers buy 37 books a year. With the recession, we closed three stores, but we’re still profitable. –Fortune

The defendants included British Sky Broadcasting Limited, British Telecommunications PLC, EE Limited, TalkTalk Telecom Limited and Virgin Media Limited, giving Richemont a broad swath of security against these particular vendors, at least in the UK.

According to Justice Richard Arnold’s ruling, “The ISPs have an essential role in these infringements, since it is via the ISPs’ services that the advertisements and offers for sale are communicated to 95 percent of broadband users in the UK.” –Fashionista

Before joining the Princeton faculty, Morrison held the Albert Schweitzer Chair in the Humanities at the State University of New York-Albany. Previously, she was a senior editor at Random House for 20 years. She also has taught at Howard University, Yale University, Bard College and Rutgers University. . . .

The papers of Toni Morrison contain about 180 linear feet of research materials documenting the author’s life, work and writing methods, according to Don Skemer, curator of manuscripts in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections in the Princeton University Library. The papers will be among the most important holdings of the Manuscripts Division, housed in Firestone Library, with its renowned collection of major literary and publishing archives. –Princeton University