A blog about writing and self publishing

So Long Book Expo, A Possible Tolkien Museum, and the Finale of KoboWriMo 2020: This Week in Book News

Photo by Szymon12455 on Unsplash

Happy first Friday of December, everyone! We’ve done it! We’ve made it to the final month of the longest year in the history of everything, and the shining light of 2021 is finally within reach. While things won’t automatically go back to “normal” as soon as the ball drops on New Year Eve, it’s so nice to have hope that we’re getting close, right?

We kicked off the first round of our cover contest this week! There are still three days to vote for your favourite Romance cover and send it to the finals so make sure you get those votes in! This week also marked the end of NaNoWriMo. Our KoboWriMo team wrote a combined 258,036 words and three team members met the 50,000 word goal! Head to the end of this roundup to hear some NaNo tales from our team. But first, some news!


When the pandemic first hit, there were definite concerns about the supply chain for the publishing industry, and when the extra-busy fall season came, there were concerns over printing capacities. Here’s an update featuring key publishing players:

How Is the Book Biz Supply Chain Doing? So Far, So Good.

Ever since the Covid-19 pandemic hit this past spring, industry members from across the book business have monitored the health and stability of the supply chain, concerned about severe disruptions to the flow of books.


It’s no surprise that there are some pretty strong objections to PRH’s purchasing of Simon & Schuster.

PRH Purchase of S&S Draws Objections

Following the announcement that Penguin Random House parent company Bertelsmann won the bidding war for Simon & Schuster with a $2.2 billion offer, members of the book business and related organizations have begun to weigh in. In a statement on Wednesday, the Authors Guild laid out its opposition to the proposed deal.

Amazon is considering testing out lending its eBooks to libraries.

Amazon in Talks to Test Lending Its Ebooks to Libraries – Publishers Lunch

Amazon, which has until now refused to license the ebooks it publishes to libraries under any terms, is reportedly in is in “active discussions” with the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) to change its policy and work with libraries to distribute its titles.

Travel book icon Lonely Planet has been acquired by Red Ventures.

Red Ventures Acquires Lonely Planet | Red Ventures

CHARLOTTE, NC – Red Ventures, a platform of digital businesses, has acquired Lonely Planet, a leading global travel media company and the world’s number one travel guidebook brand from NC2 Media for an undisclosed amount.


In a move that surprises absolutely no one, both Merriam Webster and Dictionary.com have chosen pandemic as their word of 2020.

Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com both name ‘pandemic’ the word of the year | CBC Books

In the land of lexicography, out of the whole of the English language, 2020′s word of the year is a vocabulary of one. For the first time, two dictionary companies on Monday – Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com – declared the same word as their tops: pandemic.

BookExpo and BookCon have been retired indefinitely.

BookExpo and BookCon Are No More

U.S. book publishing’s biggest trade show is being “retired,” show organizer ReedPop announced today. BookExpo, along with BookCon and Unbound, will not be held in 2021 after being canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.

The Royal Society of Literature has announced their plans to improve diversity.

Royal Society of Literature reveals historic changes to improve diversity

The late Andrea Levy, author of the award-winning Windrush novel Small Island, is to become the first writer of colour to have her pen join the Royal Society of Literature’s historic collection, which includes pens belonging to George Eliot and Lord Byron.


The longtime home of JRR Tolkien is about to go back on the market and the fans hoping to help turn it into a museum celebrating the author have the support of Tolkien film actors Sir Ian McKellen and Martin Freeman.

Campaign to buy JRR Tolkien’s house backed by Lord of the Rings actors

A quest to save the home of JRR Tolkien has begun, with Gandalf and Bilbo Baggins – or at least their earthly counterparts – joining the bid to turn the house where he wrote The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings into a museum.


Author Thomas King has been named a companion of the Order of Canada.

Guelph author Thomas King named Companion of the Order of Canada | CBC News

Guelph author Thomas King has been named a companion of the Order of Canada. He’s among 114 new appointments to the Order of Canada announced Friday morning. Companion is the highest level of the Order. King said he was stunned to learn that he had been named for the achievement, adding that it’s an honour for him to be among the names on the list.

Camilla Townsend has won the Cundhill History Prize for her book Fifth Sun.

American author Camilla Townsend wins $100K Cundill History Prize for her book about ancient Aztecs | CBC Books

American historian Camilla Townsend has won the 2020 Cundill History Prize for her book Fifth Sun: A New History of the Aztecs. The $75,000 U.S. ($96,691 Cdn) prize recognizes the year’s best history nonfiction writing in English. Fifth Sun tells the history of the Aztecs, based solely on texts written by the Indigenous people of Mexico.

Fresh off winning the Booker Prize, Shuggie Bain is now set to become a TV series.

A24, Scott Rudin Productions Option ‘Shuggie Bain’ for TV Adaptation

A24 and Scott Rudin Productions have acquired the rights to the 2020 novel ” Shuggie Bain ” to develop a television series based on it. Wrritten by Douglas Stuart, “Shuggie Bain” tells of a young boy growing up in 1980s Scotland.


Some advice that I’ll keep in mind when editing my NaNo project: mood is often the most overlooked and yet most important literary device.

Mood Is The Most Underrated Literary Device – And The Most Valuable

Whenever I say that horror isn’t a genre, there’s an immediate reaction. Of course it’s a genre, many say, quickly naming books by Stephen King or Stephen Graham Jones or Silvia Moreno-Garcia among those they’ve read and love within the genre. But it’s not.

In a year in which gathering with one’s community is impossible, this article explores finding queer community through books.

These 32 LGBTQ Books Will Change the Literary Landscape in 2021

Recently I was asked how I’ve personally been maintaining and/or nourishing a sense of queer community during the ongoing COVID pandemic. My very simplified answer: books.

I absolutely loved this piece on Stacey Abrams’/Selena Montgomery’s writing career.

Stacey Abrams Is the Author of Eight Unapologetically Hot Romance Novels

Stacey Abrams personally helped sway the 2020 election with her voting rights work. She ran a historic race for governor in Georgia in 2018, and reportedly plans to run again. She’s a powerful orator and emerging icon, the kind of figure lefty parents dress their toddlers as for Halloween.


While we’re holding our own cover contest to find the favourite Indie cover of 2020, Literary Hub has collected their favourite book covers of the year.

And of course, as we reach the end of the year (it’s truly wild to think 2020 has only been one year), more and more “best of lists” will be published. Luckily, we’ve gathered them for you so you can grow your TBR pile as quickly as possible.
The best books as chosen by Smithsonian Scholars:

Smithsonian Scholars Pick Their Favorite Books of 2020

smithsonianmag.com The preeminent Harvard historian Walter Johnson is best known for award-winning academic monographs like Soul by Soul: Life Inside an Antebellum Slave Market and River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Mississippi Valley’s Cotton Kingdom. In his new book, Johnson focuses his keen analysis on a city close to his own hometown of Columbia, Missouri, to trace the U.S.

The New York Times best children’s books of 2020.

The 25 Best Children’s Books of 2020

Children’s Books IF YOU COME TO EARTH, by Sophie Blackall. (Chronicle, $18.99.) “Dear Visitor from Outer Space,” the child narrator begins, “if you come to Earth, here’s what you need to know.” Blackall delivers on the promise: Her wondrous book seems to contain multitudes – the world’s every river, flower, person, cruise ship and bottle cap.

NPR’s Book Concierge for 2020.

NPR’s Best Books Of 2020

The Book Concierge is back with 380+ great reads, hand-picked by NPR staff and trusted critics.

The Guardian’s Best Books of 2020.

Best books of 2020

All illustrations by Mike Lemanski Fiction Hilary Mantel, Ali Smith and Tsitsi Dangarembga completed landmark series, Martin Amis turned to autofiction and Elena Ferrante returned to Naples – Justine Jordan picks the best novels of the year, including a host of brilliant debuts.

And lastly, a different type of list: EW has collected what they think are the best adaptations of all time. Do you agree with their choices? (I for one believe The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants is missing.)

20 of the best book adaptations of all time

The adaptation is the ultimate Hollywood high-wire act. And adapting everything from classic literature to modern pop hits has led to an unfortunate battle between “which is better, the movie or the book?” when more often than not, enjoying both the source material and the adaptation is worth the time as they tend to add to, rather than subtract from each other.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Post KoboWriMo Thoughts from the KoboWriMo Team

“I had the best intentions but 2020 got the better of me. What I did learn is that I thoroughly enjoyed the moments of writing when I did them. I definitely hit that sense of flow once or twice. I didn’t win, but it won’t discourage me from trying again next year.” – Tara

“I found this to be a challenging month but enjoyed the inspiration to write every day – I certainly wouldn’t have done it without a goal to meet, and my own personal goal of making sure I wrote something, even if it was just a hundred words, every single day.
I also loved the KoboWriMo community and how much we all cheered each other on. That was just extra motivation and a needed boost of company when it was needed most this year.” – Deandra (a NaNoWriMo winner!)

“I went into NaNo with the best intentions..but ended up full of excuses. November 2020 was a rough month and obsessing over the US election news occupied all my brain space for way too many days. I also moved in mid-November (a temporary relocation to stay with family in the UK for a few months), which was stressful and not conductive to writing! So, yeah – excuses! I did really enjoy the lunch writing sessions and found it really cathartic to spend an hour completely focused on writing. Heading into a lockdown winter, I really do want to get back into the groove of writing and at least finish the story I started!” – Joni

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