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BUSINESS
January 12, 2014 | Ken Bensinger
For decades, finding Spanish-language books in the U.S. was like tilting at windmills. Booksellers stocked few titles in the language of Cervantes, and those they carried came at a hefty premium. A paperback copy of "Don Quijote" in the original Spanish could easily cost triple the price of a deluxe hard-bound translation in English -- if it could be found at all. Retailers blamed the expense of importing books printed in Spain and Latin America. And U.S. publishers lost faith in the market after botched attempts to translate English-language bestsellers produced error-ridden Spanish versions that sold poorly.
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ENTERTAINMENT
January 9, 2014 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Writers prefer to be published by a traditional publisher over self-publishing. Go figure. More than 9,000 authors responded to questions about the publishing industry in a report to be issued next week. Of the writers surveyed, 57.8% said they'd rather go the traditional route with their next book than try self-publishing. These aren't just old-fashioned authors. That percentage includes writers who have been both self-published and traditionally published. What's more, the survey was conducted by Writers Digest and Digital Book World -- which certainly captures people interested in digital publishing.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 30, 2013 | By Hector Tobar
Elmore Leonard died in August at the age of 87. But writing can bring a kind of immortality, and the modern noir master has come to life, again, in the form of two new short stories. Today, the San Francisco-based digital imprint Byliner publishes "Confession" and "The Trespassers," both of which were written in 1958 when Leonard was an ad man working at a Detroit agency, Campbell Ewald.  "What's interesting is to see where Elmore Leonard, the young writer, started, to study his simple Hemingway-influenced style," Peter Leonard, Elmore Leonard's son, said in a Byliner press release.
WORLD
December 29, 2013 | By Batsheva Sobelman
JERUSALEM -- Amid political and public debate, Israel approved the latest list of Palestinian prisoners it plans to release from jail this week, the government said Saturday night. It would be the third such group released in recent months. As part of the peace talks renewed through American efforts in July, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's government has agreed to release 104 long-serving Palestinian prisoners as the negotiations advance. The latest list, containing the names of 26 Palestinians serving long-term jail sentences for killing Israelis and other violent attacks carried out between 1985 and the 1993 Oslo accords, was published on the Israel Prison Service website [link in Hebrew]
ENTERTAINMENT
December 19, 2013 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
Toward the end of September, I found myself in a meeting room at Brooklyn Borough Hall in New York with planners from a variety of book fairs (Miami, Trinidad, Texas, Australia) discussing audience and cooperation and outreach. It was the morning after the Brooklyn Book Festival, which had drawn tens of thousands, and the atmosphere was upbeat, marked by excitement, even relief. Economics remained an issue (how to attract and pay for writers, how to advertise and promote) but there was no lamenting, no sense that things might be shutting down.
BUSINESS
December 19, 2013 | By Richard Simon
WASHINGTON - Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles), expressing concern about the future of the Los Angeles Times, is asking Tribune Co. executives to explain the company's move to spin off its newspaper operations into a separate company. "I am concerned that corporate actions the Tribune Co. is taking may not be in the best interests of the Los Angeles Times," Waxman said in a letter to Peter Liguori, Tribune's chief executive. The company last week filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a preliminary step toward establishing the newspaper unit, to be called Tribune Publishing Co. The newspaper unit will pay the parent company an undetermined cash dividend, funded through borrowing, according to the filing.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 19, 2013 | By David Colker
If Hugh Hefner strove to put a suave, air-brushed image on sexual freedom in the 1960s, rival publisher Al Goldstein was the polar opposite. Unabashedly abrasive and foul-mouthed, the cigar-chomping, obese Goldstein called his explicit magazine Screw and seemingly reveled in giving the middle-finger sign not only to his enemies but also the world at large via an 11-foot sculpture of the gesture outside his Florida home. "To be angry is to be alive," Goldstein - who aggressively championed free speech rights - said in a New Times Broward-Palm Beach interview in 2001.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 17, 2013 | By Carolyn Kellogg
In 2007, Daniel Clowes published a short story in graphic novel form. On Monday, Shia LaBeouf debuted a short film he'd directed that used narration from Clowes' original word for word. On Monday night, LaBouef took to Twitter, acknowledging that Clowes' work was his "inspiration" and offering an apology "to those who assumed I wrote it. " Neither Clowes nor his publisher Fantagraphics was approached by Shia LaBeouf or his representatives to ask permission, according to Fantagraphics editor Eric Reynolds.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 13, 2013 | Steve Bennett
T.R. Fehrenbach never minced words. In 1998, the San Antonio historian and newspaper columnist told Texas Monthly: "I don't believe in social science or all those tables and statistics. All the great historians have been great writers. But most of the new ones write small things. Hell, I read three pages of their work and my eyes dull. " Fehrenbach, who died Dec. 1 in San Antonio of a heart condition at 88, is considered a dramatic literary craftsman. He did not write about small things.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 3, 2013 | David L. Ulin and Elaine Woo
When Andre Schiffrin was fired in 1990 as editor in chief of Pantheon Books, it was regarded as a loud shot in the war between commercialism and quality in American publishing. There were protests by noted authors, including Studs Terkel and Kurt Vonnegut, and op-ed pieces that painted a pessimistic view of the industry. In response, Schiffrin's bosses pointed out that Pantheon had lost $3 million in his last year at the helm. His ouster ended a nearly three-decade career at the prestigious imprint, where he had worked with such writers as Jean-Paul Sartre, Marguerite Duras and Gunter Grass.
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