“Bertelsmann’s 7% decline in 2016 revenue was due entirely to a drop in sales at Penguin Random House. The lack of a big new bestseller hurt results at the company, and it divested some smaller divisions in the year.” For those interested in inside baseball, Publishers Weekly takes a look at how the world’s 50 largest publishers are faring. (TL;dr: Although their total revenue topped $50 billion, more than half of the list’s publishers reported sales declines – oh, and Harry Potter still really, really sells). As a counterpoint to all that capitalism, read our own Edan Lepucki‘s survey of self-published authors.
Catapult.co, a new literary website and publisher from the founders of Electric Literature and Black Balloon Publishing, has debuted online this week. It features stories by Padgett Powell and Joy Williams, and a remarkable essay about living in New York by Alexander Chee.
“Ocean Vuong is that rare architect of accommodation, giving the most precarious situations or embarrassing of grievances of our culture a sound environment in which they can thrive. As he kisses and tucks the parents in their beds, he sets out from the wreckage of his past towards a hard-won horizon of blunder and wonderment.” Jeff Nguyen reviews Vuong’s newest poetry collection, Night Sky With Exit Wounds.
In a By Heart piece for The Atlantic, Harriet Lane writes about the “bleak precise nature” of Philip Larkin‘s poetry (what Stephen Akey called “The Poetry of Mental Unhealth” in a Millions review) and about the power inherent in writing fiction. “In my everyday life I have no control, really: who does? But on paper, I hold all the cards. Fiction provides you with a way to shape a world, to exert the kind of power and agency our real lives so often lack.”
A literary event with an extremely star-studded guest list will be held next month for a good cause. The World’s Most Literary Rent Party Ever will raise money for author Charles Bock’s wife, who is receiving treatment for leukemia, and will include Jonathan Franzen, Jonathan Safran Foer, Mary Gaitskill, Joshua Ferris, Rivka Galchen, Amy Hempel, Nicole Krauss, Rick Moody, Richard Price, George Saunders, and quite a few others.
The first time’s always the hardest, right? Well, what if you could dull the pain of future rejection letters by preempting your favorite publication’s editors? That’s right. Now you can reject yourself with the Rejection Generator. And just to show that we’re not taking sides on this issue, check out some of the utter dross agents and editors get offered on a daily basis.