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Ancient Book Nobody Can Read Gets a Publisher

The move may unlock secrets of 15th-century Voynich manuscript

(Newser) - It has been called the world’s most mysterious book. The 15th-century Voynich manuscript, which, as the Guardian puts it, combines an "intriguing mix of elegant writing and drawings of strange plants and naked women," has stumped scholars for decades. Now, after a 10-year quest, small Spanish publisher... More »

Oprah Winfrey Is Publishing Her Memoir

And you better believe it's going to be inspirational

(Newser) - You get an inspirational life story! You get an inspirational life story! Everybody gets an inspirational life story! That's right, Oprah Winfrey is finally releasing her long-awaited memoir, which she says will use "her own story as the source of inspirational advice," USA Today reports. Flatiron Books... More »

Colbert Flips Off Amazon

Comedian makes Hachette beef personal

(Newser) - Amazon has been going to some extraordinary lengths lately to strong-arm publisher Hachette Book Group, and in the process it's made a powerful enemy: Stephen Colbert. Hachette and Amazon have been feuding over e-book pricing, and Amazon has responded by delaying shipments of Hachette's books and making them... More »

Author of Fake Holocaust Memoir Loses $22.5M Case

Misha Defonseca claimed she spent WWII with pack of wolves

(Newser) - A woman who made up a best-selling memoir about spending her World War II childhood living with wolves in Europe's forests after her parents were arrested by the Nazis has been ordered to repay her publisher a whopping $22.5 million. After an earlier legal dispute with Misha Defonseca... More »

Ladies' Home Journal Folds After 131 Years

Ad slump blamed for end to monthly publication

(Newser) - Another one of the "Seven Sisters" of women's magazines is calling it a day. After 131 years, Ladies' Home Journal will cease monthly publication in July. It will survive as a quarterly special interest publication and its website will stay alive, though no subscriptions will be offered and... More »

Didn't Finish That E-Book? Your Digital Librarian Knows

New subscription services track data, feed it back to publishers

(Newser) - If you happened to pick up Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.'s The Cycles of American History in e-book form and read it in full, congratulations. You are among the 1% who made it all the way through, at least according to the digital library startup Oyster. That's one... More »

Apple Faces Uphill Battle as Price-Fixing Trial Begins

Judge expects 'direct evidence' of 'conspiracy'

(Newser) - Apple's federal court battle over e-book price fixing begins today, and the company has a tough case to make, observes the Wall Street Journal . The government's claim: Apple made deals with five publishers to boost the prices of e-books before the iPad's 2010 launch. "Stripped of... More »

Fifty Shades of Grey Makes History for Random House

Sold 70M copies last year, a record for publisher

(Newser) - Now we know why Random House gave every one of its employees a $5,000 bonus last year: The Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy by EL James sold more than 70 million copies in print, ebook, and audio formats, reports the Wall Street Journal . That makes it the fastest-selling series... More »

Publishers Howl as Amazon Seeks .Book Domain

Firm wants to snap up dozens of new names

(Newser) - A big expansion of Internet domain name suffixes is on the way and publishing industry groups are alarmed by's plans to get in on the action, the Wall Street Journal reports. The company is seeking to snap up names including ".book," ".author" and "... More »

Random House, Penguin to Merge

Some literary agents concerned

(Newser) - Random House, already the biggest consumer book publisher in the English-speaking world, will get even bigger next year after a planned merger with Penguin. The plans, rumored last week, were confirmed today by the media companies that own the two publishing divisions, Bertelsmann and Pearson. Bertelsmann, the Random House owner,... More »

Lena Dunham’s $3.7M Advance Is a Big Problem

In fact, it explains what's wrong with the publishing industry: Rob Spillman

(Newser) - Want to know what's wrong with the corporate publishing industry? Take a look at Lena Dunham's insane book deal , which Rob Spillman pegs at $3.7 million on Salon . Random House will need to sell at least 500,000 copies to break even, which Spillman thinks is a... More »

JK Rowling's New Book Tops Bestseller Charts

'Casual Vacancy' knocks '50 Shades' off top spot

(Newser) - JK Rowling has soared back to the top of the bestseller lists faster than a flying broomstick with her first book aimed at adults. Despite mixed reviews, The Casual Vacancy is at the top of the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. In Britain, it outsold the second-place fiction... More »

Monica Lewinsky Hawking Secret New Book

Publishers forced to sign non-disclosure agreement to meet with her

(Newser) - Should Bill Clinton be worried? Monica Lewinsky has been shopping a new book, sources tell the New York Post , and it's so hush-hush that she's making publishers sign a non-disclosure agreement before she'll meet with them. "I'm sure every major publisher was interested in hearing... More »

New Conan Doyle Tale to Be Published: His Own

Diary from year spent at sea shows young writer at work

(Newser) - A 20-year-old runs away from his medical studies in Victorian Britain to spend a perilous year as a ship's doctor on an Arctic whaler. It may sound like a ripping yarn, but a previously unpublished book by Arthur Conan Doyle actually tells his own story. The British Library is... More »

News Corp Posts $1.6B Loss

UK scandal hits Murdoch firm's bottom line

(Newser) - Divorce doesn't come cheap: Rupert Murdoch's News Corp has posted a hefty quarterly loss of $1.6 billion, mainly because of its plans to split its profitable entertainment businesses from its ailing publishing arm . The company cut $2.8 billion from the value of its publishing businesses, with... More »

Alice Walker Blocks Israeli Edition of Color Purple

Author accuses Israel of persecuting Palestinians

(Newser) - Alice Walker is prohibiting an Israeli publisher from printing a new Hebrew-translated edition of her classic novel The Color People because, says Walker, "Israel is guilty of apartheid and persecution of the Palestinian people." Walker has been a vocal critic of Israeli policies, reports the Los Angeles Times ... More »

Is This the Most Depressing Book Deal Ever?

Venice Fulton scores 7 figures for dieting advice like: skip breakfast

(Newser) - Today, in the annals of careers you really should have chosen instead of the one you're doing right now: diet-book writer. Grand Central Publishing has announced that it has won the rights to Venice A. Fulton's Six Weeks to OMG. Fulton will apparently get "seven figures" for... More »

Amazon Now Moves to Slash E-Book Prices

But DoJ suit expected to be bad news for readers in long run

(Newser) - Just after the Department of Justice launched its antitrust lawsuit against Apple and five major publishers , Amazon announced plans to slash e-book prices. But while the move is expected to cut the prices of major titles from $14.99 to $9.99 or less, analysts believe the benefit to consumers... More »

PayPal Tells Publishers to Pull 'Obscene' E-Books

Remove controversial titles or else, booksellers told

(Newser) - PayPal is overstepping the bounds of its role as a payment processor by trying to ban e-books it deems obscene, publishers and free speech groups complain. At least three online publishers and booksellers received emails warning them that their accounts will be "limited" unless they pull titles "containing... More »

Barney Rosset, Censorship-Fighting Publisher, Dies

Grove Press founder championed Beat poets, Samuel Beckett, erotica

(Newser) - Barney Rosset, founder of the envelope-pushing, censorship-defying Grove Press, died at age 89 on Tuesday after a double-heart-valve replacement, the New York Times reports. The irascible Rosset once described his press as "a breach in the dam of American Puritanism," and it lived up to that name, publishing... More »

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