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Book News for Monday, October 5, 2009

  • Gourmet, Gone Tomorrow: Lovers of food magazines are feeling a collective pang in their hearts (and stomachs) today, as Condé Nast announces it's closing the kitchen on Gourmet magazine.

    According to the NY Times, it was a decision between either Bon Appétite or Gourmet. Media watcher assumed that given the rich history of Gourmet (publishing since 1940), and editor (Ruth Reichl), it was the safe one.

    Other magazines on the chopping block: Cookie, Modern Bride, and Elegant Bride.

    COOKIE?! What kind of world do we live in where a magazine about cookies can't sell enough copies to stay afloat? Do we even want to keep living in a world this dark and hopeless???

    The Times points out:

    Condé Nast tends to hold tight to its prestigious titles, making the Gourmet closing all the more startling. In an interview in February, even Paul Jowdy, publisher of the in-house rival Bon Appétit, said that such a closing was unlikely. (To be fair to Mr. Jowdy, the economy has plummeted, and Condé Nast has been hit particularly hard since then. Its magazines have lost more than 8,000 ad pages, excluding its bridal titles, so far this year.)

    One wonders why the company didn't just attempt a fusion — I think Gourmet Bride would be quite popular (albeit to some very strange fringe groups that misunderstood the name).

    (Read the 2001 interview with Reichl.)

  • The Dan Brown Code: That eagerly-awaited ripple effect from Dan Brown's bestseller The Lost Symbol is being felt by books on related subject matter, according to Publishers Weekly.

    To date, two books in particular have benefited from increased consumer interest in all things Brown — James Wasserman's The Secrets of Masonic Washington (Dec., 2008) and Robert Hieronimus and Laura Cortner's Founding Fathers, Secret Societies (revised edition Dec., 2005).

    The latter, which was originally published as America's Secret Destiny in 1989, has gotten what Fowles describes as "a great surge of sales." It sold out the remaining copies from 2005 and has gone back to press twice: once for 5,000 copies in late September and for another 5,000 copies due in soon. Altogether Founding Fathers has almost 50,000 copies in print.

    In addition, Radio Shack reports a surge of sales for their "Chat with a Flying Saucer" CB radio kits, and hundreds more people are said to be excavating their backyards to dig a tunnel to the Earth's hollow core.

Book News Round-up:

  • In The Book of Genesis, underground comix artist Robert Crumb takes on the bible. 'Nuff said.
  • Hey, remember that new Dan Brown book? (See above.) Looks like there's a plague of pirated copies on the Internet.

    Sadly, "pirated copies" does NOT mean the characters' dialogue has been rewritten in pirate-speak. Although, it should mean that. "Gar, haven't ye heard of the Freemasons? They be a secret society of landlubbers. We should stop runnin' from that blackguard who wants to keelhaul us so I can tell ye their entire history in one, long monologue... gar!"

  • Tao Lin is the kind of writer who makes some people fall crazy headlong in love with his words, while making others hate the very act of writing so much that they burn their entire library of books just in case he wrote something inside them. Divisive, in other words.

    Here's an interview for his new book, Shoplifting from American Apparel, that will help you decide in which (if either) camp you belong.

  • The comic strip Bloom County is about to turn thirty. Believe it or not.

÷ ÷ ÷

Brockman is the head writer for the daily Book News posts on the blog. In his free time he's hard at work on his fictional memoir, which changes titles daily.

The views and commentary posted by Brockman are entirely his own, and are not representative of the whole of Powell's Books, its employees, or any sane human being.

Books mentioned in this post

  1. Gourmet Today: More Than 1000...
    Used Hardcover $14.95
  2. The Lost Symbol
    Used Hardcover $6.95
  3. The Secrets of Masonic Washington: A... Used Trade Paper $10.50
  4. Founding Fathers, Secret Societies:... Used Trade Paper $5.95

  5. The Book of Genesis
    Used Hardcover $14.00

One Response to "Book News for Monday, October 5, 2009"

    manwith7talents October 5th, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    How about Elegant Gourmet Modern Bride Cookies?

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