Is all publicity good publicity? Are all reviews—even bad ones—good for books? The answer, according to a new study [pdf] by the journal Marketing Science, depends on whether the writer is well known or unknown. The study examined the impact of a New York Times review on the sales of more than 200 hardcover titles. For books by established writers, a negative review led to a 15% decrease in sales. For unknown authors, a negative review increased sales by a healthy 45%.
Patrick Bateman as internet troll? I could see it. Bret Easton Ellis, author of American Psycho, stopped by Town and Country to muse over how an early-twentieth century Patrick Bateman might behave a bit differently: “I check in with Patrick every now and then—as with this article you’re reading—but he has been living his own life for some time now, and I rarely feel as if I have guardianship over him, or any right to tell him where he would or would not be today, decades after his birth.”
Though Kim Gordon is mostly known for her time in Sonic Youth, she’s also an artist and writer, one who’s racked up art projects and publications over the course of the past forty years. At Full-Stop, Hestia Peppe reviews Is It My Body?, a new collection of Gordon’s essays and other written work. It might also be a good time to read our own Anne K. Yoder on punk and revolutionary nonfiction.
Perhaps the best mashup of highbrow and lowbrow to grace the cultural ether in recent years is this innovative scratch-and-sniff guide to becoming a wine expert. The book, which is exactly what you think it is, declares that “not all oaks are created equal” and includes a diagram of “all the smells in the world.” (Related: literary tourism at Suttree’s High Gravity Beer Tavern.)
Nobody wants to be a Hufflepuff! Over at The Atlantic, David Sims defends the oft-maligned Harry Potter house for their egalitarian ethos and general goodness. At The Millions, Michelle Dean’s essay about the value of J.K. Rowling’s Potter series will have you wanting to give them a re-read.