Penguin Press has recently announced that the works of celebrated novelist Thomas Pynchon are now available for download for the first time as e-books. For years the author, whose works, like Gravity’s Rainbow and Against the Day, have long been daunting yet satisfying reads for fans of literary fiction, has been an opponent of the digital revolution in publishing. The New York Times’ Julie Bosman, reported that the move “…is another step toward the ubiquity of the e-book, even for authors who stubbornly resisted,” in a 12 June 2012 article that speculated that the change of heart could have been prompted by the simple desire to get more readers.
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This has been a rough month for Amazon.com and its dominant position in the e-book market following a series of recent setbacks involving the company’s e-reader, the Kindle, and its tablet, the Kindle Fire. The e-reader, which more than any other device sparked the long anticipated digital revolution in the world of publishing, is no longer going to be stocked in any of Target’s stores across the nation. Although a New York Times’ article, “Target, Unhappy With Being an Amazon Showroom, Will Stop Selling Kindles” (Stephanie Clifford and Julie Bosman, 2 May 2012) speculated that the move is going to be little more than a minor irritation for Amazon, it means that the device is going to be pulled from the shelves of almost 2,000 brick and mortar locations.
NEW YORK — It started with a story for a magazine. In 2008, during a trip to Japan, New Yorker staff writer Dana Goodyear decided to write about cellphone novels, a phenomenon — involving young women writing largely for young women, posting fiction from their phones to media-sharing websites — that was then shaking up Japanese publishing.
“It seemed like a great way to explore the literary culture,” she remembers, although by the time she got home, the parameters had shifted, with the effects of the global economic crisis rippling through the American book industry. “I began to wonder whether this might offer a sliver of hope for American publishers, although more interesting was the notion that these young women were creating an independent literary community. What would the features of an American version be? What would that have been like for me?”