Issue 7: You can now talk to books, A surprisingly prescient Pultizer

Sit down! Be humble! You’re reading Issue 7 of Book The Trend — an industry newsletter on the future of publishing — released on April 18th, 2018

Every single person I worked with in the process of writing my book was white, which definitely added extra complexities and labour to publishing a book on race.

Ijeoma Oluo, writer, in an interview with Buzzfeed on gender and race in publishing.

Talk to books
The ultimate headlining innovation in the world this week is Google’s brand new “Talk to books” search tool. The cutting-edge semantics-based tool can answer questions by rapidly scanning through all the books in Google’s database. With this new tool, you can search for answers on a sentence-level (not by author or topic), so it feels closer to human conversation. The call-to-action in the search bar reads: “say something to books” which makes me feel like books is a sentient being. “Hey books. What’s up? Any plans for the weekend?” I asked “Talk to Books,” “what does the future of publishing look like?” Check out the answers here.

And the winner is..
A surprise choice, Andrew Sean Greer’s Pulitzer-winning novel Less features a scene where one of characters actually wins a Pulitzer.

“Robert turned to face Less. ‘It was the Pulitzer committee,’ he said evenly. ‘It turns out I’ve been pronouncing it wrong all these years.’

‘You won?’

‘It’s not Pew-lit-sire. It’s Pull-it-sir.’ Robert’s eyes took another survey of the room. ‘Holy fuck, Arthur, I won.'”

Extract from Less. Shout-out to the team at Bustle for this revelation. #clairvoyance #prophecy #future

Also, while not strictly about publishing, all the shout-outs to Kendrick Lamar who made history by being the first person who isn’t a classical or jazz musician to win the Pulitzer Prize for music.

What effect will streaming have on the future of audiobooks?
Kudos to the Futurebook team for this awesome article (with an even better title): Is the Spotify for Books… Spotify? We all know that audiobooks are on the rise — thanks Pew. Check out Futurebook’s analysis of audiobooks, smart speakers, and the effect of streaming on publishing here. #mustread #noseriouslyitsamustread

“don’t trade your authenticity for approval
Kanye West is writing a philosophy book on Twitter. Note: He’s actually writing it on Twitter, not about Twitter. It’s called Break the Simulation. Not one to play by the rules, he’s planning to write the book in real time on his Twitter feed to express the “so many ideas and so many things We want to express.” (Yup, that’s a royal “We.”)

Thanks Margaret Atwood
Sinister 19th-century girls’ schools, witch trials, and all-female fighting islands: historical and dystopian fiction with a feminist bent were the hot manuscripts going for big money at this year’s London Book Fair. Katie Brown, commissioning editor at Trapeze, told The Bookseller: “All the big books are coming out of the US, and are all in the vein of The Handmaid’s Tale: dystopian and feminist. These are the books everyone is talking about. I think it is in response to the #MeToo movement, which is not going anywhere. Books with strong female characters are really popular, and are selling extremely well.”

What to say to your friends when they ask to borrow your books
Luckily, I live in Berlin, Germany where people say exactly what they mean all the time. So, when people ask to borrow a book, I say “sure, take it, keep it” or “I can’t lend it to you because I’ll never get it back and I’m emotionally attached to it.” For those of you who don’t live in Deutschland and need some tips on how to deal with mates who want your books, check out Electric Lit’s guide to lending books.

God save the books
The Publishers Association launched a blueprint for UK publishing as the shadow of Brexit looms. They’re pushing for “gold standard” intellectual property rights and steadfast commitment to promoting digital in an attempt to protect the £7.8bn UK publishing industry after Brexit. They’re afraid that the UK could shift to an international exhaustion of rights after Brexit which means that (in the words of lawyer Shireen Peermohamed) “if a printed book is on the market anywhere in the world with the copyright owner’s consent—the US, Norway, Japan—the copyright owner will, in most cases, not be able to stop it being resold in the UK. I suspect that rights-owners will be thinking hard about this and the need to make a strong case against the international exhaustion of rights.” Check out the (kind of awkwardly “Rule-Britannia”-vibe-in-places press release here).

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Want to read past issues? Yay! Check out the archives.

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