Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Book News, In Brief

An unusually large, unusually old fragment of the Gospel of John will go on sale next month. Despite being available in better condition -- and for free! -- in the bedside table of every hotel and motel in the world, this battered bit of Bible is expected to fetch upwards of $460,000. Now I'm no scholar, but wouldn't your Jesus want you to give that money to the poor? (Editor's note: According to papal cannon, indie bookstores count as paupers.)

No matter how hard Britney Spears tries to save face with the media, embarrassing in-house drama inevitably gets leaked to the press, making things worse. A similar thing is currently happening to publisher Houghton Mifflin. Last week, a rumor got out that H.M. were putting a temporary hold on new acquisitions. This week, G√ľnter Grass (the publisher of the company’s adult trade division) has resigned. Next week, who knows? A shaved head, maybe?

Were you selling newspapers on November 5th? Then surely you remember the chaos. Excited by Obama's win, folks who hadn't bought a newspaper in years were suddenly scouring their local bookstores and corner stores, looking for any remaining copies of their local fishwrap. Well, if American publisher Andrews McMeel gets their Christmas wish, December 16th will be equally insane. That's when they're releasing President Obama Election 2008: A Collection of Newspaper Front Pages Selected by The Poynter Institute, a blatant cash-in which reprints the front pages of some 70+ newspapers from around the world -- all of them announcing Obama's ascendancy.