Last week at BEA I spoke with a number of publishing people about 50 Shades. I was beginning to feel sanguine about the book. A book that made women feel more comfortable about their sexuality was a good thing. A book that got people reading was a good thing. The publishing path of 50 Shades was instructive and enlightening. But my equanimity with the book was utterly destroyed when I read this earlier this week:
Louisa May Anonymous’s 50 SHADES OF LOUISA MAY, imagining the secret sex life of an iconic 19th-century American novelist and the Transcendentalists (Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville) after whom she lusted, to John Oakes at OR Books, by Dan Conaway at Writers House
For many woman, Louisa May Alcott represents a very innocent and precious time in her life. I feel like my childhood is being despoiled with the mere mention of this deal. Worse? It seems like it is now a trend. Pan Macmillan in the UK acquired Jane Eyre Laid Bare: Jane Eyre with an erotic twist. This isn’t the first time Jane has been bastardized in such a manner. There was Pride/Prejudice, the slash fiction version of P&P. But two historical female authors being sexualized in real person fan fiction because publishers think women just want sexed up versions of everything? That’s a trend I want to see die early and yes, I blame this on 50 Shades.
Update: I’ve been told LMA wrote erotica under “A Well Known Author”. Consider my innocent youth debauched.
PN: I didn’t realize that publishers weren’t making their files available for instant printing. I suppose in the case of new titles, publishers want bookstores to order stock. In the case of backlist titles, though, I’m not sure I see the downside.
PN: Barnes & Noble owns book.com. I’m surprised that they didn’t put in a bid for .book. Maybe they will yet.
PN: Because of the DOJ lawsuit, the government’s no bid contract with Amazon is under a lot of scrutiny. Some are suggesting that there is some shady relationship between Amazon and the government which led to the filing of the DOJ suit. Not sure whether they are going to allege the same thing with the States’ Attorneys General.
PN: Terry Goodkind has been published by Tor in the past. I think Goodkind has to be the biggest author to self publish. I think it is interesting that he is going to self publishing first when the popular self publishers are signing book deals with traditional publishers. I wonder if the trend for bigger name authors will be to self publish digitally and then move back to traditional publishing for print.
PN: Is this fantastic or what? Possibly the best “for reader” news I’ve seen in a long time.
PN: This is subscription only link but the shareholder suit arose over B&N’s acquisition of Len Riggio’s college textbook business that the shareholders obviously felt did not benefit the company but instead Riggio’s own pockets. This should not affect the bottom line for BN given that the $29 is coming from Riggio’s personal funds.