24 Reference Publishing
As reference books continue to transition from print to digital, and
digital resources increasingly get lost in a sea of online content, we
look at which reference works are keeping their heads above water.
28 Digital Solutions
Book startups troll for investors and juggle business models to
survive in a fast-changing digital marketplace.
30 Paul Goldberger
We talk with Vanity Fair’s architecture critic about his forthcoming
biography Building Art: The Life and Work of Frank Gehry, due out from
Knopf in October.
4 Publishers Struggle with Flat Market
Financial results released by three major trade publishers and recent
AAP numbers point to a lack of top-line growth in the industry, putting
pressure on earnings.
5 The Weekly Scorecard
Unit sales of print books rose 4% in the week ended Aug. 2, 2015,
compared to the similar week in 2014, at outlets that report to
6 Amazon Tightens Grip on Digital Comics
After acquiring Comixology—the dominant digital comics marketplace—last year, Amazon is making further moves to fend off any
10 Hawkins Tops First-Quarter E-book Sales
The Girl on the Train led e-book sales in the first three months of the
year, according to figures released by Nielsen Pub Track Digital.
11 Building a Badass Bestseller
Perseus Books Group is making the most of the unexpected success
of Running Press’s You Are a Badass, by life coach Jen Sincero.
; The Givenness of Things: Essays
Marilynne Robinson. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26 (304p)
This probing, provocative collection by Pulitzer winner
Robinson (Gilead) argues for the recovery of humanism as
a response to the problems of our historical moment. Robinson’s is a “humanism articulated in the terms of Christian
metaphysics,” based on a deep reading of the Bible and her
self-declared Calvinism. She is as impressively erudite and
incisive in dealing with Shakespeare’s “theological seriousness” and the literariness of the Reformation as in examining
the current American allegiance to science over wonder,
competitiveness over generosity, technology over art. The
essays demonstrate an engaging humility, a quiet voice pure
of accusation or bombast, and insight touched with humor.
Robinson’s surgically precise prose and disciplined thought
convey regret for human fallibility just as strongly as reverence for human potential. Her solution is a moral reparation—a reinvigoration of “the conceptual vocabulary of religion” and “a more considered understanding of the soul”
that acknowledges “the ontological centrality of humankind
in the created order.” “To value one another is our greatest
safety,” Robinson writes, “and to indulge in fear and contempt is our gravest error.” Eloquent, persuasive, and rigorously clear, this collection reveals one of America’s finest
minds working at peak form, capturing essential ideas with
all “the authority beautiful language and beautiful thought can
give them.” Agent: Ellen Levine, Trident Media Group. (Oct.)
Pick of the week
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