Audible Turns 20!

Written by Caitlin Smith

Audible, everyone’s favorite audiobook service, is celebrating its 20th birthday this month. Beginning their operation in 1997, Audible has grown considerably since the initial launch. According to their Twitter, the very first download they offered in the 90s was the bestselling Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, by John Gray. Thankfully, the audiobook emporium now boasts upwards of 200,000 selections, so listeners aren’t confined to vaguely misogynistic self-help books—though they do have 35,679 other selections in that same genre, if you’re feeling the need for some self-improvement before the holidays.

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On this month’s Black Girl Magic (~Literary Edition~): Edwidge Danticat wins the Neustadt Prize

Written by Nicole Cappabianca

On November 9, Edwidge Danticat was announced as the 2018 winner of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. Within the literary community, the Neustadt Prize is called the “American Nobel” because of its reputation of influencing the Swedish Academy’s annual selection. Any living writer from any part of the world is eligible for the Neustadt Prize. The award is the first of its kind to originate from the United States due to its large scope, and it’s one of the very few international prizes that is open to poets, novelists, and playwrights. The winners are awarded $50,000, a silver replica of an eagle’s feather, and a certificate.

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The Internet Archive Uploads Thousands of Books from 1932 to 1941

Written by Andi Feddeler

For those of you who love digging into literature that’s been relatively unexplored for the past few decades, you’re in luck! According to Open Culture, recently Elizabeth Townsend Gard of Tulane University collaborated with her students in a project to scan and upload thousands of works from 1923 to 1941. Gard and her students worked under an important provision of U.S. copyright law, Section 108(h).

The digitized books can be found online on The Internet Archive under “The Sonny Bono Memorial Collection,” named after the late musician who made his way into the House of Representatives from 1994 to 1998. He pioneered many liberatory copyright laws, allowing more access to books that are not currently being sold or generating revenue.

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E-book Pirates Ransack the Publishing Industry

Written by Morgan Southworth

Earlier this year, Joanna Penn, author of several fictional thrillers and nonfiction books marketed to other authors (like How to Make a Living with your Writing and How to Market a Book) wrote that “the idea that piracy costs authors money is based on a mistaken premise.” In her writing, she went on to outline three different scenarios: one where a reader happens to accidentally stumble across an illegal copy of your book online and downloads it out of curiosity; one where a reader with no money to legally buy the book instead illegally downloads a copy; and one where a reader with money to spare illegally downloads your book because they’re a jerk.

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Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold and the Folly of Loving Relatives

Written by Abby Adamo

For over a decade, Joan Didion’s name has been synonymous with grief. First with A Year of Magical Thinking in 2005 and then in 2011 with Blue Nights, Didion writes of the unthinkable tragedy of losing her husband and then—within the same year—her daughter as well. In the Netflix original documentary, Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold, created and directed by her nephew, Griffin Dunne, we see the rest of the story. From her childhood with a severely depressed father to her early days writing for Vogue to her casual dinners with Linda Kasabian from the Manson trial, the documentary covers Didion’s life before grief.

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Amazon Bookstore Coming to Austin

Written by Emily Ogden

Amazon is set to open one of its two newest Amazon Books stores in Austin, Texas, according to the Austin-American Statesman. The store will make its home in the Domain shopping center in early 2018. Since 2015, Amazon Books has opened thirteen brick-and-mortar locations in seven different states.

The stores utilize the same power of analytics that have made their online book sales so successful. As reported in the Mercury News, Amazon Books vice president Cameron Janes said, “All 3,800 titles in the store are rated four stars or higher by customers on Amazon or are among the top sellers.” Each book is selected based on its popularity on Amazon, and some are even paired with lesser-known titles to allow shoppers to explore new books—just like the website.

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The Importance of Generating Compassion as a Fiction Writer

Written by Carolina Eleni Theodoropoulos

A couple of weekends ago at the Texas Book Festival, Karen Shepard presented her new collection, Kiss Me Someone, while in conversation with Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia! Shepard spoke heavily about the responsibility she feels as a writer to cultivate compassion for characters that sometimes appear monstrous.

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Layla AlAmmar’s The Pact We Made is the first book to be published through the Open Call for Submissions from Muslim Writers

Written by Katelyn Connolly

In January 2017, a group of literary agents and publishers announced an Open Call for Submissions from Muslim Writers, just two months after the election of President Donald Trump. The call responded to the now-infamous Muslim banthe president signed during his first week in office, which sought to halt immigration or travel to the United States from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemenall Muslim-majority countries. The literary community that created the open call believe they occupy a unique position to help contribute to bringing more empathy, compassion, understanding and tolerance into this world through books,and that Muslim authors are particularly necessary voices given the current climate in the United States and abroad.

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