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Thursday News: Update on EC v. DA, Atavist Books shutting down, Interview with After author Anna Todd, and mummifying Barbie

Thursday News: Update on EC v. DA, Atavist Books shutting down,...

Jane would also like everyone to know that she is doing fine and greatly appreciates all the well wishes.

I’d like to add another thank you to everyone who donated to the defense fund, which is currently more than $54,000. Given the awfulness of the past few days, this shared accomplishment has helped keep my faith in the integrity of our overlapping book communities. –Dear Author

“While we are very proud of the quality of the titles produced by Atavist Books to date, we have identified that the market for highly innovative enhanced full length literary e-books still heavily relies on a print component and has yet to emerge,” said a spokesperson for IAC, who confirmed the news, first reported yesterday. –Publishers Weekly

What this says to me is that we should not underestimate the market clout of readers in their late teens and early 20s.

On Wattpad, “After” has been read more than one billion times. The multi-part book has just under 10 million unique readers, who have left 6 million comments. It’s crazy. To make bestseller lists, authors generally sell tens of thousands of books per week. Then again, reading on Wattpad is free.

Todd’s method is madness, too. Just out of college, she wrote the million-word series in largely unedited spurts from her Android phone, over the course of a little more than a year. She told Re/code she started writing because she was an avid fanfic reader and was bored without new installments from Wattpad writers she followed. So she pulled out her phone and jotted down her own, typos and all.

Todd finalized the book contract in June of this year, just before wrapping up the epic story. For the print version, the character named after the real-life pop star “Harry Styles” — an abusive jerk with a heart of gold (well, maybe) — has been renamed Hardin. –Re/code

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