So while I was sitting in the county courthouse yesterday, doing my civic duty as a sworn juror…
⇒BBC Worldwide bought 75% of Lonely Planet, including not just the travel guides but a television production company and an online video site that reaches a reported 4.3 million unique visitors a month.
⇒Penguin and Amazon.com decided there’s no reason that Touchstone, Borders, and Gather.com should be allowed to have all the fun of discovering unpublished writers, so they’re throwing their own contest, with a $25,000 book deal for the “Breakthrough Novel Award” winner. “Amazon, which will accept up to 5,000 entries, is assembling a panel of customers who have posted the most, and best, reviews on its site to serve as the judges for the first round,” reports Publishers Weekly, which will then provide reviews of as many as 1,000 semi-finalists, which Penguin editors will whittle down to 100 manuscripts for NBCC president John Freeman, bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert, agent Eric Simonoff, and Penguin’s Amy Einhorn. That panel will offer their take on the ten “best” entries, as all the while the likes of Harriet Klausner and other Amazon.com habitues wield the real power in selecting the winner.
⇒Meanwhile, Borders and Gather.com have replaced Touchstone with CourtTV in their new contest for unpublished crime writers, linked to the new season of Murder By the Book, with celebrity judges Sandra Brown, David Baldacci and Harlan Coben.
⇒And HarperCollins has teamed up with Sharp Independent “to develop and produce films based on its large collection of properties,” as the Hollywood Reporter puts it, which sounds an awful lot like the Random House/Focus Features partnership. Basically, Harper is going to start negotiating for film rights on newly acquired titles as well as whatever elements of the backlist it sees fit to pursue.