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Book News: Amazon Posts Loss As It Focuses On Long Game

Friday, July 26, 2013

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

  • Amazon reported an unexpected second-quarter loss Thursday of about $7 million โ€” though revenue rose 22 percent โ€” as it continues to bet big on investments in digital content. The Bookseller summarized Amazon's strategy of "building new warehouses, growing services and ... [buying] a hoard of digital rights content for its film streaming service." It adds , "In the three months from April to June [Amazon] announced an expanded video licensing agreement with Viacom, as well as deals with NBC Universal Cable & New Media. The company also opened Kindle Worlds, which allows writers to write fan fiction around 'popular worlds.' " Amazon's stock took a hit on the earnings news. But Forbes points out that "a 3% loss in after-hours trading on a shorter-than-expected report on a single quarter doesn't mean that much to [CEO Jeff] Bezos, and it shouldn't mean that much to Amazon's investors, either." In other words, don't be thrown by the numbers: Amazon is thinking big.
  • Author Geoff Dyer writes about trying to teach himself how to smile, in spite of the fact that "the Dyer visage in repose, its default setting, is that of a man whose jam has regularly been stolen from his doughnut."
  • The literary website The Omnivore has started a dating service, to "fulfill your bodily needs as well as your intellectual ones." The Omnivore isn't the only place to look for a bookish love connection โ€” The New York Review of Books is also famous for its cerebral personal ads.
  • The latest Barnes & Noble nostalgia piece comes from Michael Agger at The New Yorker: "Going to Barnes & Noble became a Saturday afternoon. It was as if a small liberal-arts college had been plunked down into a farm field." Remember when Barnes & Noble was the enemy?
  • Neil Gaiman made a video game called "Wayward Manor," which will come out this fall. Gaiman told Mashable that he's tried (and failed) to do it before: "Back in the late 1990s I spent a lot of time working with various gaming companies. What tended to happen is I put an incredible amount of work in these things and just as something was about to happen, the company was about to go bankrupt."
  • For The Telegraph, Horatia Harrod considers miniature books: "There is a certain madness to the world of miniature books. The smallest ones, which measure less than a quarter of an inch, cannot be opened; even if they could, their type could not be read without the aid of a microscope."
Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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