- Hungry Eyes: The Los Angeles Times reports on the progress of the script for the Hunger Games film, which was originally written by the books' author, Suzanne Collins, and with a polish by Billy Ray (whose scripts include Breach and Shattered Glass, both of which he directed).
The piece mentions that producers are hoping the films will tap into the same demographic that fawns over Twilight, noting the books have "a growing group of young female fans, a genre conceit and a strong teenage protagonist."
While The Hunger Games may not attract quite as rabid a fan base as Twilight, I think it stands to become a bigger crossover success, as I know quite a few male readers (myself included) who love the Collins books, whereas I cannot name a single person with a Y chromosome who will even admit to reading, let alone enjoying, the Twilight books.
- Four Legs Good, Ballads Bad: Sir Elton John is working on a musical based on George Orwell's Animal Farm.
John and [screenwriter Lee] Hall worked together on the stage adaptation of Billy Elliot. It's taken the pair two years to obtain all the necessary rights. The CIA was covertly involved in buying the film rights from Orwell's widow Sonia, enabling Halas & Batchelor to make their 1954 cartoon. There's no theatre producer attached yet.
Did that news make your ears ring with "Circle of Life" as the opening of The Lion King flashed before your eyes? Only with the lyrics "All animals are created equal/ but some are more equal than others."
- Why the Hamptons are Trembling: It's been a harrowing summer of digital rights shenanigans for the publishing industry, as Deadline notes.
Debate and discussion are raging about how vulnerable major publishing houses suddenly are after book agent Andrew Wylie formed an electronic publishing imprint for his author clients and made an exclusive deal with Amazon. That means that instead of leaving it to a publisher and taking a low split, Wylie gave Amazon sole e-book rights to titles like Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, Vladimir Nabakov's [sic] Lolita, Philip Roth's Portnoy's Complaint...and Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited. You can read all of them only on the Kindle for $9.99 each, under Wylie's own Odyssey Editions imprint.
Random House responded with sheer thuggery, blacklisting Wylie in a clear attempt to scare other authors and their reps from trying the same thing. Other publishers also expressed outrage in different ways, like Macmillan CEO John Sargent, who railed about how Wylie's exclusive deals excluded other e-devices like the Sony Reader....What neither of these houses addressed is the $64,000 question: do they control e-book rights in contracts signed before anyone imagined that e-books might surpass print titles? Many feel the answer is no.
Read on for stories about Random House's attempts to use intimidation to squash authors who dare to cut out the middle man.
Book News Round-up:
- Today's Very Short List recommends Dark Roasted Blend: The Extraordinary World of Ex Libris Art, "which has curated some of the finer examples of bookplate art through the ages." Warning: Once you start clicking, you won't be able to stop!
- You just have to love the San Diego Comic Con. Mainly for things like this.
- As Scholastic's interactive 39 Clues series comes to an end with the August 31st publication of the final book, Into the Gauntlet by Margaret Peterson Haddix, Publishers Weekly takes a look at the evolution of the series and measures its success.
- And finally, because I don't know the meaning of the word "shame":
÷ ÷ ÷
Chris Bolton co-created the all-ages webcomic Smash, which will soon be published by Candlewick Press, and created the comedy series Wage Slaves. His short story "The Red Room" was published in Portland Noir from Akashic Books.
Books mentioned in this post