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September 10, 2009

Author advances cut by as much as 50%

Authors taking pay cuts of up to 50% | theBookseller.com Except for the hugest authors. Dan Brown, JK Rowling, Patterson, etc. can expect to see their advances increase in size.
Authors have seen their advances drop over the past year, with some facing cuts of as much as 50% on new book deals. But deals for bestselling authors are "bigger than ever". Earlier this week Little, Brown author Iain Banks spoke publicly about taking a pay cut, telling the Guardian: "I'm getting less money for my next book contract. But I've heard of writers having their advances cut by 80%, and others getting nothing." Agent Mic Cheetham, who represents Banks, said: "The climate has changed. I think it's called 'a haircut'—a little trim. You have to look to keep the haircut to an absolute minimum." Clare Alexander of Aitken Alexander said: "For an established author who is not a bestseller, the advance may be down by as much as 50%, or books may not be being bought at all. The decline has been very steep since the end of last year." Mark Le Fanu, general secretary of the Society of Authors, also estimated the drop in general author advances at 30% to 50%.

September 05, 2009

What do the Guantanamo prisoners read? Harry Potter, Cervantes, Obama.

Informed Comment: Guantanamo Reading List: Harry Potter, Don Quixote, and Obama's Dreams from my Father
What are the three most requested titles by the remaining 229 prisoners? 1. The Harry Potter novels 2. Cervantes' Don Quixote 3. Barack obama's Dreams from my Father. No reason was given for these choices, which are followed in popularity by Muslim religious volumes. Do they think Guantanamo is a little like Hogwarts Academy and that their torturers were Lord Voldemort? Do they know that Miguel Cervantes fought at the second Battle of Lepanto in 1571 in which the Holy League defeated the Ottoman empire at sea, and that later on his ship was captured by the Algerians and he spent 5 years imprisoned and enslaved in Algiers before being ransomed-- thus reversing an element in their own biographies? They are said to be fascinated that the new president of the United States has African and Muslim roots.

September 04, 2009

Two years after closure, Antioch College will reopen

Main Building, Antioch College-medium.jpgI am, right this second, watching a live feed from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. The university leaders who closed the undergraduate school two years ago have just handed over the keys to the entire campus to the new owners, The Antioch College Continuation Corp. In the history of U.S. higher education, no one has ever re-opened an independent liberal arts college once it was closed. As an alumnus, class of 1992, I wish my alma mater the best and will work to support her. Yellow Springs News Online
On Friday, Sept. 4, the keys to Antioch College will be transferred from Antioch University to the Antioch College Continuation Corporation, or ACCC. The action marks the college’s revival after having been closed for a year, and its return, after 30 years as part of a university system, to being an independent liberal arts college. ... Friday’s closing finalizes an agreement between the university and the ACCC that was made two months ago. ... The June 30 agreement followed a year of negotiations.... The closing follows a two-year Antioch College alumni effort to save the college after the university board voted in 2007 to close the school the following year due to financial exigency. The alumni effort to create an independent college succeeded because there was “such a broad and diverse group of people who put forth such a level of effort and conviction that the college should survive,” Derr said, describing the effort as a “relay race” in which, when one group of alumni faltered, another took over. Many college alumni cared deeply about saving the college because they believed they had received a unique education that needed to be available to future generations, especially in an increasingly complex world. “It’s a simple model but a powerful one,” Morgan said, regarding the Antioch College synthesis of scholarship, self-governance and real-world work experience. “No one else is doing it.”

Publishers trying to save money are canceling books

Publishers cancelling books to cut costs | theBookseller.com
Solomon said reasons being given for cancellation included the “excuse” that the book was not up to scratch. She said: “People are also being much tighter about deadlines, and refusing to extend them.” Solomon added: “If people want not to publish your book, the first thing they will do is go through the contract and look for the weak points.” One crime writer, who preferred to remain anonymous, said she and others had had books cancelled on the grounds that the delivered manuscript was not up to standard, even though in some cases foreign publishers were happy to accept them. “The easiest way [to cancel a title] is to say: ‘This book isn’t what we expected of you.’ Four authors I know have all been given the same reason, and it is almost as though the publisher is reading from a script,” she said.