Wednesday News: Book industry, Twitter funding, TV adaptations, and the RBG workout
Book industry looks to hold steady in turbulent time – So despite all the optimistic talk of print books and independent bookstores coming back in vogue, the book industry is still on edge. I have long thought that publishers mistakenly saw (see?) themselves as a natural monopoly, so it’s fascinating to watch the industry adapt to an environment of actual robust competition for consumer leisure time and money. And to see what the industry identifies as competition:
Publishers and booksellers say the unpredictable Republican president has opened a bull market for warnings of dystopia, whether Snyder’s book or George Orwell’s “1984,” while disrupting the reading public’s concentration and making it hard to know what will sell in the future.
Becky Anderson, owner of Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville, Illinois, said she noticed “weird little dips” in sales whenever the news was especially eventful, as if customers were “too glued to MSNBC” to think about books. Hachette Book Group CEO Michael Pietsch also believes that business has been hurt.
“People are transfixed by their newsfeed,” he said. “People are reading on their phones and on their screens in a way that I think is usurping some book reading.” – Star Tribune
Twitter confirms ‘significant’ round of funding led by Russian investment company – DST Global, which has also invested in Groupon, Zynga, and Facebook, has mad a substantial investment in Twitter. Not that this investment will answer a lot of questions about Twitter’s long-term viability, but the company continues to expand in the past year alone, both in employees (250 to 600) and applications (150K to 500K).
While the micro-blogging site did not outline the size of investment led by the Russian investment company in a blog post, reports put the deal at $400m plus another $400m in secondary funding.
Twitter plans to use the funding for product development, hiring and international expansion. . . .
Twitter continues to grow around the globe at a record pace. Just a year ago, it delivered 65m tweets a day. It currently generates more than 200m tweets a day. – The Telegraph
TV Adaptations Must Figure Out When to Go by the Book — or Risk Fan Frenzy – An interesting discussion of the recent spate of television adaptations of literary works, from The Handmaid’s Tale to I Love Dick and 13 Reasons Why, among others. Those who adapt recognize that they may want a bigger audience than just those who have read a book or series (I pretty much scarfed down three seasons of Bosch, and I still don’t have any real desire to read the books), but at the same time, they don’t want to piss off those core readers, either. To some degree those goes back to the question about Game of Thrones: at what point is the adaptation a transformative work that can stand on its own? Perhaps the longer a series runs, the more likely it is to veer from the original material? Of The Handmaid’s Tale:
When creating an alternate world like (The Handmaid’s Tale‘s) Gilead, you have to make sure it’s still believable, he points out, crediting “Game of Thrones” showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss for doing just that on their adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s fantasy novels.
For “Handmaid’s Tale,” that meant creating a world that seemed modern but off-kilter and repressive. Modern references like Uber were added to the script, and inordinate care was taken while selecting the handmaid’s otherworldly garments, which evoked the Puritan era [note: The Puritans were NOT the dull, sexually repressed people so many non-historians have made them out to be, and this false narrative frustrates what few brain cells I have left to contemplate these things). . . .
Unlike the 1970s and 1980s, when networks regularly turned bestsellers such as “Rich Man, Poor Man,” “The Thorn Birds” and “Roots” into miniseries, today’s producers are taking an increasingly open-ended approach to the literary material. – Variety
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s workout is becoming a book. Yes, really. – I am giddy with excitement over this book (I may even have to buy it in print), which will be released on October 3rd. Ginsberg trains with the book’s co-author (Bryant Johnson) two days a week, and given the current makeup of the Court, hopefully she’s earning herself another year of good health with every push-up.
While Ginsburg stars in the book, she isn’t its author. Instead, it’s co-authored by illustrator Patrick Welsh and longtime Ginsburg trainer Bryant Johnson, who now also trains Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan.
The 112-page book will feature illustrations of Ginsburg doing each exercise in her routine. She’ll be pictured in her judicial robes, with purple leggings and “her trusty sneakers,” according to publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. – Seattle Times