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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

Monday News: New crowdsourced teen romance imprint, Penguin India pulls The Hindus, an interview with Binyavanga Wainaina, and an update on the B&N derivative shareholder suit

Monday News: New crowdsourced teen romance imprint, Penguin India pulls The...

Macmillan Announces First Swoon Reads Romance – Macmillan made a Valentine’s Day announcement of their first acquisition under their “crowd sourced teen romance and online community,” which is a debut novel by Sandra Hall: A Little Something Different. The book will be released in both print and digital at the end of August, not only by Macmillan US, but also by Pan Macmillan UK and Australia. I’m trying to decide if this is the perfect manifestation of “be careful what you ask for,” when we’ve wanted publishers to be more connected to reader tastes, or if it’s a true step forward in how publishers see readers, instead of just publishers, as their customers.

Launched in September 2013, the Swoon Reads community includes readers and writers from across the world who submit, read, and comment on manuscripts submitted for publication under the Swoon Reads imprint. The community’s members are involved in every step of the publishing process, beginning with the initial discovery of the manuscript, and give input on cover design and marketing and publicity plans. The Swoon Reads Board, made up of staffers from various departments within Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, also weigh in on the acquisition process –Publishers Weekly

Penguin India Issues Statement on ‘The Hindus’ Recall – Penguin has been involved in a legal battle to publish Wendy Doniger’s The Hindus against Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti, a Hindu group that filed suit against the publisher on both civil and criminal grounds. Penguin claims that section 295A of the Indian Penal Code makes the Indian publication of books like The Hindus unlawful, and without having any legal decision made against them, Penguin has settled with the group and pulled the Indian version of the book. Arundhati Roy wrote an incredible open letter to Penguin, insisting that (among other things),

“You have all the resources anybody could possibly need to fight a legal battle. Had you stood your ground, you would have had the weight of enlightened public opinion behind you, and the support of most—if not all—of your writers. You must tell us what happened. What was it that terrified you? You owe us, your writers an explanation at the very least.”

Penguin India released a lengthy statement, insisting that (among other things),

“Penguin Books India believes, and has always believed, in every individual’s right to freedom of thought and expression, a right explicitly codified in the Indian Constitution. This commitment informs Penguin’s approach to publishing in every territory of the world, and we have never been shy about testing that commitment in court when appropriate. At the same time, a publishing company has the same obligation as any other organisation to respect the laws of the land in which it operates, however intolerant and restrictive those laws may be. We also have a moral responsibility to protect our employees against threats and harassment where we can.” –Time

Binyavanga Wainaina interview: coming out in Kenya – You may know Binyavanga Wainaina from his satirical piece “How To Write About Africa,” in which he hilariously and poignantly takes on a variety of stereotypical perceptions about the continent, and when he wrote his first full-length book, One Day I Will Write About This Place, Wainaina left out what would become his published “lost chapter” from the memoir-ish novel. The chapter, in which he confesses to his mother that he is gay, is itself fictionalized, because his mother died before he could tell her (or even see her on her deathbed). Wainaina is Kenyan and his mother Ugandan, and Wainaina spends significant time in Nigeria — and all three countries are either hostile to or have criminalized homosexuality, which makes his work particularly important and risky. Among other things, Wainaina explains the very personal impetus behind his decision to write “I am a homosexual, Mum.”

That imperative had begun for him last year when a young friend, who had been living at his house, and whom he had helped fund through college, died. The man had been gay, and it is Wainaina’s understanding that he died from an Aids-related illness, but he had felt unable to admit that even to his closest friends. The family line was that he suffered throat cancer. Wainaina returned home from New York for good in time for the funeral and decided, angry, that he should perhaps do some of his friend’s talking for him. The news from Uganda, and then Nigeria, heightened that anger.–The Guardian

Deadline on March 10, 2014 in Lawsuit for Investors in Barnes & Noble, Inc. (BKS) Shares Announced by Shareholders Foundation – Remember that lawsuit some shareholders have filed against Barnes & Noble? Well, the deadline for participation is coming up next month. The announcement of an SEC investigation into the bookseller catalyzed the suits, which alleges a number of misrepresentations and failures to disclose. It’s going to be very interesting to see what, if anything, comes of this suit, especially given the huge question marks around the future of NOOK.

If you purchased a significant amount of shares of Barnes & Noble, Inc. (BKS) between June 27, 2012 and December 5, 2013, and / or if you purchased BKS shares prior to June 2012 and currently hold any of those shares, you have certain options and you should contact the Shareholders Foundation before March 17, 2014 at [email protected] or call +1(858) 779 – 1554. –Market Watch