The shortlist for the Guardian’s First Book Award features works by Nadifa Mohamed, Ned Beauman, Maile Chapman, Kathryn Schulz, and Alexandra Harris.
The Books for a Better Life Awards announced their finalists, and inductees into their Hall of Fame at the ceremony next March will include Grand Central publisher Jamie Raab.
I’ve been assured that most attendees of the FT/Goldman Sachs business book award did receive winner Raghuram G. Rajan‘s FAULT LINES. (My bag was uncharacteristically light.)
Melville House said on its blog that it will no longer submit its books in translation for consideration for the Best Translated Book prize due to the new $25,000 in support being provided by Amazon. They declare, “It’s clear to us that Amazon’s interests, and those of a healthy book culture, whether electronic or not, are antithetical.” (The screed goes on from there if you click through. They also seem to think they should have been consulted over being named as a previous winner of the award in a press release announcing the new funding.)
In the comments, Pete Mulvihill at Green Apple Books suggests “perhaps 50 indies could come together to sponsor this?” and says they would contribute their $500.
In reply, award founder Chad Post writes on the Three Percent blog, “I’ll take full credit and responsibility for getting and accepting the $25K from Amazon. Obviously I talked to all of our panelists about this before nailing everything down, but I brought the idea to Amazon, and in the end, it was my decision to do this.” Ultimately, Post says, “I’m sorry that Dennis has chosen to try and undermine the awards in an attempt to make a political point. We’re going to continue doing what we’re doing, and doing all we can do to champion literature in translation.”
In closing, he writes “I wonder if he’s also withdrawing support from PEN America, the 92nd St. Y, and…other organizations that have received funding from Amazon (including The Loft, Poets & Writers, The Moth, etc.)”
As a corollary, we asked Johnson if he intended to stop selling the company’s books through Amazon, since he wrote “taking money from Amazon is akin to the medical researchers who take money from cigarette companies” and positioned their stance on the awards as a “genuine statement of support for the independent publishing and bookseller community.”
But Johnson replies “we don’t want that; we want our books to be available in as many places as possible. We are trying to spread the word of our authors here. And Amazon is very good at getting books to people in places where it’s hard to get books, and I applaud them for that. On that, at least, we are in tune: it’s about getting the books out there.
“But on other matters we aren’t so in tune, and there’s a significant difference between engaging in a straightforward business deal with Amazon (whether or not you like the terms) and taking money to participate in a PR campaign that presents the company as something that it’s not.”
Melville House Blog post
The Midwest Booksellers Association has hired Carrie Obry as their new executive director, starting December 27. Most recently she has been an acquisition editor for Llewellyn Worldwide.