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Monday News: B&N entertains a new purchase offer, Alice Hoffman talks about her favorite books, the Jenner sisters enter the YA market, and Amtrak creates the first writers residency on a train

Monday News: B&N entertains a new purchase offer, Alice Hoffman talks...

Private Equity Firm Wants to Buy B&N for $22 a Share – It was reported on Friday that a small private investment firm floated an offer to acquire what amounts to 51% of their stock for approximately $22 a share (almost $700M total). G Asset Management apparently wants to separate Nook from the rest of the business. Although Nate Hoffelder updated his post with a report that the firm did not have the capital to actually do the deal, it’s not the first time they’ve offered:

If you’ve been following bookselling news for any length of time then G Asset Management is a name you might recognize; they made a similar offer in 2012. At that time they wanted a 51% interest in B&N College, the division that runs college bookstores. That deal fell through, with B&N instead choosing to form Nook Media by combining the Nook unit and B&N College, and selling a chunk to Microsoft and Pearson. –The Digital Reader

Alice Hoffman: By the Book – There are so many gems in this interview with Alice Hoffman. From her perspective on Wuthering Heights, to her defense of SF/F (does anyone really disparage these genres anymore, though?), to her recommendations for formative reading, this is an interesting piece. What especially caught my eye Hoffman’s description of herself as a “fantastical escapist writer:”

What kind of reader were you as a child? And what were your favorite childhood books?

I was a fanatical escapist reader, as I am now a fanatical escapist writer. I always had a book with me, no matter what, on the bus, in line for the movies. I still love to read the same books I loved as a child. Anything written by Edward Eager, especially “Half Magic”; the Borrowers series; “Mary Poppins.” Grimms’ fairy tales, so psychologically true a child reader intuits their deeper personal meaning. Those fairy tale themes are at the heart of many of my own books. –The New York Times

Kendall and Kylie Jenner’s Book Cover Revealed—Get the First Look at Rebels: City of Indra! – Yeah, yeah, I know; who cares that Kylie and Kendall Jenner are writing a Young Adult novel. What I think is interesting about this particular book, though, is that it’s being published by what seems to be a small publishing/branding house, Karen Hunter Publishing, which the website describes as belonging to the Suitt-Hunter Media Group, which “works with celebrities and emerging artists, identifying opportunities to expand the individual’s brand into ancillary markets.” Although the E! article indicated that Hunter was from Simon and Schuster, that does not seem to be the case, according to their website. In fact, the focus of the publisher/branding house seems to be on African American talent, and on projects “that are sometimes too “left of center” for major houses and their conservative approach to publishing.” As for the Jenner sisters’ book:

According to the publisher, the novel presents “a thrilling dystopian story about two super-powered girls, Lex and Livia, who embark on a journey together, not realizing their biggest danger might be each other.” –E! Online

Inside Amtrak’s (Absolutely Awesome) Plan to Give Free Rides to Writers – In what began as a Twitter-expressed wish by Jessica Gross, Amtrak created the first writer’s residency by train. Upon responding to Gross with an offer to let her do a “test run,” Amtrak recommended Gross rid the Lake shore Limited from New York City to Chicago and back to New York City, and all they asked for was some tweeting en route and an interview with the Amtrak blog once she finished her trip. Gross ultimately wrote about the adventure for an article in The Paris Review and Amtrak is currently pondering options for a more permanent program. As to who would qualify for a writer’s residency aboard an Amtrak train,

In other words, how will Amtrak decide who to send on its residencies? In the short term, as the program gets off the ground, candidates will be selected on a case-by-case basis. Quinn said that residents won’t “necessarily just [be] published authors, or people with multiple books under their belt, or [people that had] a publication tap them.” Amtrak, Quinn said, is open to people with a variety of writing backgrounds, because “the differences between a journalist, a published author, a blogger – those lines are continually blurred by the internet.” –The Wire

Tuesday News: Rabih Alameddine loves his characters, Adobe hates you, Tech companies love transparency (sometimes), who loves a stolen book?, and when loving lasts too long

Tuesday News: Rabih Alameddine loves his characters, Adobe hates you, Tech...

Interview: Rabih Alameddine, Author Of ‘An Unnecessary Woman’ – Alameddine’s novel features a heroine who works in a bookstore in Beirut and translates her favorite stories into Arabic, never to be sold or published. Despite the title and Aaliyah’s circumstances, she is happy and fulfilled. I adore Alameddine’s response to a question about “writing lovable characters:”

“In my opinion once you do a character fully, and if the writer — and this is me in this case — actually loves the character, it comes through. The character becomes lovable. Because the truth is it is rare to find a human being fully before us that you can’t fall in love with. You might want to kill them at times, you might want to smack them and throw them off the roof, but it’s also a love affair. And that’s what, in my opinion, a good novel does.” NPR

Adobe to Require New Epub DRM in July, Expects to Abandon Existing Users – Me: Readers just want to be able to read all the ebooks I’ve lawfully purchased and used. Adobe: Screw you and all your dollars spent, too. Me: Go Team Kindle!

“The tl;dr version is that Adobe is going to start pushing for ebook vendors to provide support for the new DRM in March, and when July rolls Adobe is going to force the ebook vendors to stop supporting the older DRM. (Hadrien Gardeur, Paul Durrant, and Martyn Daniels concur on this interpretation.)

This means that any app or device which still uses the older Adobe DRM will be cut off. Luckily for many users, that penalty probably will not affect readers who use Kobo or Google reading apps or devices; to the best of my knowledge neither uses the Adobe DRM internally. And of course Kindle and Apple customers won’t even notice, thanks to those companies’ wise decision to use their own DRM.” The Digital Reader

Major Tech Companies Disclose Secret Court Orders for First Time – Reports for Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and LinkedIn are all available via link in this story, which details the new terms for tech companies to, in the words of a Google blog post, let the public “better understand how surveillance laws work and decide whether or not they serve the public interest.” Sure a lot of these disclosures are in tech’s own best interests, but sometimes those interests intersect with our own:

“Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and LinkedIn have all provided statistics on government requests for user data issued through National Security Letters (NSLs) and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court orders. Internet communications companies were previously forbidden to release such data, until the U.S. government reached an agreement with several of the aforementioned companies, which was announced last week.” Mashable

Book thieves are shrinking the Brooklyn Public Library’s collection – Perhaps librarians can weigh in on how widespread a problem this is. Note that these books are not being outright stolen, but checked out and never returned. High on the list of potential targets are professional and test preparation guides and graphic novels. More digital books? Not sure what the solution is here.

“Reuven Blau reports for the New York Daily News that, while 2013 numbers are not yet available, 70,144 books were stolen from the Brooklyn Public Library in 2012 — and that this is indicative of a trend that started with staff cuts a few years ago. Library workers point out that after the staff was reduced, thefts spiked from 61,543, a 14% increase. The Brooklyn Heights branch has gone from 30 employees to 20, and one anonymous staffer points out, “We don’t have the staff to watch as much.”” MobyLives

Can couples really get stuck together during sex? – How about this for a romantic challenge? A little nookie, followed by a trip to the emergency room:

“‘Its not the most romantic ending a couple can imagine,’ says Dr Aristomenis Exadaktylos, author of a study of 11 years of admissions to his hospital in Bern, Switzerland.

He and his co-authors found plenty of patients who had experienced problems after sex – migraines, heart problems, even amnesia. But asked on the BBCs Health Check radio programme if he had come across a case of the womans vagina clamping on to the mans penis, he said ‘No’ – and added that the idea was probably an urban myth.

Two listeners, however, wrote in to dispute this.” BBC News