In this week’s edition: AI may soon put some writers out of a job; soft censorship is limiting student access to a wealth of literature; social media buzzes about strange goings-on at Amazon and Barnes & Noble; a new book marketing trend uses memes; the author newsletter craze may be waning; and more.
Amazon Stands by Books
A number of publishing houses, mostly indies, report that book orders from Amazon fell by as much as 80 percent over the past four weeks. The most likely reason for the drop-off is Amazon slowing plans to add new warehouses, but some publishers fear that the company may be deemphasizing books and moving to more third-party fulfillment. Amazon has denied this rumor.
What Is Going on with Barnes & Noble?
Rumors are circulating about Barnes & Noble's alleged new policy to not stock novels in hardcover by debut or lesser-known authors because there's little guarantee they will sell.
What Is 'Soft' Censorship? When School Districts Don't Ban Books, They Still Limit Student Access
Many school districts around the country are limiting student access to books that haven't been outright banned by separating them from other books, adding warning labels, or requiring parental permission before children can read them.
DOJ v. PRH: "Ending Where We Started"
Closing arguments in the antitrust trial to stop the merger of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster came full circle with the Department of Justice reiterating that the merger would decrease the size of advances and reduce the diversity of books published.
We Need to Talk About How Good AI is Getting
The New York Times
Artificial intelligence programs are advancing rapidly, so much so that one analyst says there’s a 35 percent chance AI could replace most white-collar knowledge jobs, including writers, by 2036. Already AI programs exist that can write screenplays, novels, and other books with limited human assistance.
The Newsletter Boom is Over. What’s Next?
While the surge of authors and journalists rushing to create newsletters on Substack has lessened, both mainstream news outlets like TheAtlantic and journalist-owned startups like Puck and The Optionist still think newsletters have the ability to connect with readers and make money