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Price Fixing, A New Poet Laureate, and A Robbery Tell-All: This Week in Book News

Hello writers, and happy Friday! As February begins, Toronto has officially entered the depths of winter and we have had some chilly days this here week. And as much as I look forward to the day we can go back to the office, I am very grateful I’m able to work in sweatpants, cuddled up with my dog, and sipping tea on these chilly afternoons. I hope wherever you are, you’re keeping warm and cozy as well. It’s been a relatively relaxed week when it comes to publishing news, so let’s just jump right in, shall we?


Jeff Bezos is stepping down as Amazon’s CEO

Jeff Bezos to step down as Amazon CEO, Andy Jassy to take over in Q3

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos will leave his post later this year, turning the helm over to the company’s top cloud executive, Andy Jassy, according to an announcement Tuesday. Bezos will transition to executive chairman of Amazon’s board.

The Big Five Publishers are now defendants in the eBook price-fixing suit.

Big Five Publishers Now Defendants in E-book Price-Fixing Suit

The initial complaint, first filed on January 14 by Seattle-based firm Hagens Berman, had portrayed the Big Five publishers as co-conspirators in the alleged price-fixing scheme but had named only Amazon as the defendant. The amended complaint, filed on February 4, now draws the publishers into the suit.


Registration has opened for Publisher Weekly’s inaugural book show.

Registration Opens for PW’s U.S. Book Show

The U.S. Book Show, a new online book fair produced by Publishers Weekly, has opened registration for the virtual event, which is scheduled to be held May 25-27, 2021. The new book fair will focus on showcasing books coming in the fall, highlighting new releases of interest to booksellers, librarians and consumers.

Waterstones has come under fire after stating they will not provide wage increases to their furloughed employees until after the shops have reopened.

Waterstones says paying furloughed staff minimum wage ‘would not be prudent’

Waterstones has told staff that furloughed workers will not receive any increase to their wages until shops can reopen, after a petition was launched calling on the book chain to help workers who are being paid below minimum wage on the scheme.

Activists are working in large American cities to remove police presence from libraries.

Public Libraries Have a Policing Problem

These kinds of moves are overdue. Though the public library, in the popular imagination, is upheld as a place of equal opportunity and freedom, the LAPL budget reveals that it is also a site of increasing policing and surveillance, which particularly affects Black and brown communities.


After stepping down from her role as editor of the London Book Review, Mary-Kay Wilmers has become the consulting editor and her successors have been named.

Announcement, 29 January 2021 · LRB

Mary-Kay Wilmers has announced that she is stepping down as editor of the London Review of Books. She will continue to be closely involved with the paper as consulting editor. Deputy editor Jean McNicol and senior editor Alice Spawls have been appointed to succeed Wilmers as editors of the LRB, Europe’s leading literary magazine, which in 2019 celebrated its 40th anniversary.

Louise Bernice Halfe has been named Canada’s new parliamentary poet lauriate, becoming the first indigenous Canadian to hold the position.

Louise Bernice Halfe named Canada’s new parliamentary poet laureate | CBC Books

Renowned writer Louise Bernice Halfe, also known by the Cree name Sky Dancer, has been named Canada’s new parliamentary poet laureate. Halfe, who was raised on Saddle Lake Reserve and attended Blue Quills Residential School in central Alberta, is the ninth poet to hold the position.

The longlist for the Dublin Literary Award for best global work of fiction has been announced (and it contains four Canadian authors!)

4 Canadian titles longlisted for $153K Dublin Literary Award for best global work of fiction | CBC Books

Four Canadian-authored titles are among the 49 books longlisted for the 2021 Dublin Literary Award: The Innocents by Michael Crummey, The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel, The Subtweet by Vivek Shraya and Reproduction by Ian Williams. The €100,000 ($153,863 Cdn) prize annually recognizes the best work of fiction in English from anywhere in the world.


Hunter Biden will be publishing a memoir about his struggles with addiction and road to sobriety.

Hunter Biden memoir about drug addiction to be published

Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden and an ongoing target for Republican supporters, has announced that his memoir, Beautiful Things, will be published in April. The book will centre on the lawyer and former lobbyist’s struggles with drug addiction and his path to sobriety.

Someone who claims to have been involved in the 2016 robbery of Kim Kardashian is writing a book about the crime (even though the trial is still ongoing and, I’m no lawyer, but this seems like a poor legal move).

Suspect in Kim Kardashian’s 2016 Paris Robbery Reportedly Writes Book About It

We’ve never claimed to be experts on the French judicial system, but the concept of writing a book about a crime you’ve been accused of, and are currently awaiting trial for, seems like a strange idea the world over.

George RR Martin has updated fans that 2020 was his best year yet when it comes to making progress on The Winds of Winter!

George R.R. Martin says he’s done his best writing yet on ‘Winds of Winter’: ‘Hundreds of pages’

Some good news coming out of 2020: George R.R. Martin says his pandemic lockdown has resulted in his best work yet on his long-awaited novel The Winds of Winter. Updating his fans on his blog, the Game of Thrones creator says, “I wrote hundreds and hundreds of pages of THE WINDS OF WINTER in 2020.

This is probably exciting for only me, but a behind the scenes book about the long-running medical drama Grey’s Anatomy is coming out this fall and believe me when I say I slammed that preorder button.

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ book ‘How to Save a Life’ to reveal new details about the ABC drama

How to Save a Life, from EW editor-at-large Lynette Rice, includes more than 80 interviews from the ABC hit’s cast and crew. Grey’s Anatomy fans, this a Code Black-level news alert: An upcoming book will detail the never-before-told, behind-the-scenes story of the ABC hit drama.


If you want to include an influencer as a character in an upcoming book, I highly recommend this piece about what authors get right and wrong when discussing the influencer lifestyle.

How Accurate Are Books About Influencers? We Asked an Influencer

Collage by Hunter French | Images via Harper Collins and Shutterstock Ellery Lloyd’s People Like Her is the story of an influencer mom’s worst nightmare. Emmy Jackson is a British fashion editor-turned-“Instamum, with two young kids, a novelist husband, and a million followers-one of whom is watching her way too closely.

It’s no secret that the primary audience for romance is women. But should men be reading more erotica?

It’s Time for Men to Start Reading More Erotica

We tend to assume that men prefer to watch rather than read their porn. This is because we also tend to assume that men are id-driven neanderthals bound to a state of innate, perpetual horniness.

And lastly, as someone who both loves and loathes the rules of grammar, this incredibly passionate article about using brackets in quotes brought me a lot of joy.

Stop Defacing Quotes With Brackets!

Mostly I don’t get upset about other people’s grammar and usage. I believe, as a matter of principle and practice, that it’s bad to get upset about other people’s language choices. People who correct other people’s language are invariably rude, are almost always transparently insecure, and are very, very often wrong.

Have a great weekend!


Staff Recommendation

Joni, Author Engagement Specialist
“I am halfway through an amazing novel called The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai. I recently watched the new HBO/Channel 4 drama It’s A Sin, which is about the AIDS crisis in the 80s. The show is incredible; so moving and beautifully written. I realized how little I really know about that time, and wanted to learn more by immersing myself in stories of people who lived it. The Great Believers moves between 1980s Chicago and contemporary Paris, and explores the impact and aftermath of the AIDS epidemic on several characters whose lives are intertwined. I love the writing and the story is so compelling – I’m looking forward to curling up on the couch and finishing it this weekend!”

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