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Book News: Not Everyone's A Fan Of Amazon's Fan Fiction Move

Seattle-based Amazon announced last week that it will begin selling fan fiction. CEO Jeff Bezos speaks at a 2009 event.
Mario Tama
Getty Images
Seattle-based Amazon announced last week that it will begin selling fan fiction. CEO Jeff Bezos speaks at a 2009 event.

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

  • Amazon's move last week to begin selling fan fiction has prompted a backlash in the online community. On the one hand, the deal would do away with the copyright restrictions that keep writers of fan fiction from selling their work. On the other hand, it comes at a cost: 65 percent of profits go to Amazon and the original rights holder, and the fan fiction writer hands over ownership of the text and any original elements introduced into the story. And Amazon's rules are strict — there can be no crossovers (i.e., Harry Potter can't join forces with Edward Cullen), and pornography is forbidden, ruling out works such as Fifty Shades of Grey, which started out as Twilight fan fiction. John Scalzi, the president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, wrote on his personal blog, "This is not anywhere close to what I would call a good deal."
  • Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Imre Kertész gives a lovely and sad interview to The Paris Review: "I'm not sure whether it is my work or my illness that's going to kill me now. ... I haven't yet died in the attempt to come to terms with history, and indeed it looks as though I will be dying of a bourgeois disease instead — I am about to die of a very bourgeois Parkinson's."
  • Dear Life author Alice Munro speaks with Lisa Dickler Awano for The Virginia Quarterly Review: "You [write] your whole life, and yet you know that you fail. You don't fail all the way, or anything, it's still worth doing — I think it's worth doing, anyway. But it's like this coming to grips with things that you can only partially deal with. This sounds very hopeless. I don't feel hopeless at all."
  • A wonderful new poem by Louise Glück appears in the Spring 2013 issue of The Threepenny Review: "My birthday (I remember) is fast approaching. / Perhaps the two great moments will collide / and I will see my selves meet, coming and going..."
  • Everything is Illuminated author Jonathan Safran Foer spoke at Middlebury's commencement over the weekend: "Short of winning a Nobel prize or a Pulitzer prize or a National Book Award or a MacArthur fellowship ... I couldn't be more honored than I am right now."
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    Annalisa Quinn
    Annalisa Quinn is a contributing writer, reporter, and literary critic for NPR. She created NPR's Book News column and covers literature and culture for NPR.
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