Good morning, friends,
The UK passed 40C for the first time ever yesterday and it’s being reported that yesterday was the busiest day since World War II for London’s firefighters. We’ve been cooler here in Brighton, with highs of 33C. Last night we had monsoon-like rains and if I close my eyes, I can pretend I’m back in India, in my home in Delhi, which I haven’t returned to since the beginning of the pandemic and that I miss terribly.
It’s strange, being in the UK and feeling like I’m back in India. It’s the first time my two worlds have merged in such a physically obvious way.
I hope you’re feeling comfortable, wherever you are.
Enjoy the issue!
NEWS & VIEWS
Bookstores are booming
A bit of good news to share with you this morning: Bookstores are booming and becoming more diverse in the US.
The New York Times reported earlier this month that 300 bookstores have opened up in the US in the last couple of years, signaling a revival that meets the demand for “real recommendations from real people.”
“Two years ago, the future of independent book selling looked bleak. As the coronavirus forced retailers to shut down, hundreds of small booksellers around the United States seemed doomed. Bookstore sales fell nearly 30 percent in 2020, U.S. Census Bureau data showed. The publishing industry was braced for a blow to its retail ecosystem, one that could permanently reshape the way readers discover and buy books,” reporters Alexandra Alter and Elizabeth A. Harris write. “Instead, something unexpected happened: Small booksellers not only survived the pandemic, but many are thriving.”
The book trade has seen significant changes in the last 2-3 years, since the beginning of the pandemic. Much of this has been encouraging. Platforms such as TikTok have helped with book discovery and backlist sales, while the industry itself faces a reckoning in the way it treats people, chooses books, and boosts certain authors.
It’s easy to look at media and publishing and feel despondent. But good things are happening and change is coming. It’s important not to forget that.
In science journalism, what’s a fact: “Unfortunately, bad journalism about science — sensationalistic stories that create fear and anxiety — is a good business. It gets attention and sells ads. Unscrupulous media, scientists, and commercial actors can make a lot of money by supplying misinformation to a public that seeks to have its beliefs and political leanings confirmed,” writes James Breiner.
Why and how journalists write books: Poynter spoke with nearly a half dozen journalists who are authors or have forthcoming books, and a few of the publishing professionals tied to their deals. They set out to understand the kinds of stories the publishing industry is interested in from news media.
Some calls for pitches from Twitter this week:
Penguin Random House is looking for freelance writers to do content marketing.
Metro, UK wants your dating stories.
Travel + Leisure seeks pitches for culturally significant techniques from anywhere in the world.
The Daily Dot wants pitches on niche internet subcultures, up-and-coming creator interviews, trend analyses, creator economy news, and more.
The Sunday Times magazine has a new Senior Commissioning Editor who wants your pitches.
GQ is looking for unusual pitches on film/tv/music/book trends + opinions.
The Guardian wants freelancers in Australia to pitch ideas across all art forms.
The Muse will take your career and work pitches.
Cosmopolitan, UK wants excellent, timely ideas for features.
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INDIA: How well do Indian books travel to the West? Literary agents Jayapriya Vasudevan in Bengaluru, Shruti Debi in New Delhi and Priya Doraswamy in the U.S. talk about readership for Indian authors published abroad and the increasing interest from Hollywood.
INDONESIA: “Noticing a lack of information available digitally about Indonesia’s mangroves, Ganis Riyan Efendi and his colleague Aris Priyono founded MangroveMagz in 2014. The publication is the country’s first and only online magazine dedicated to discussing mangrove conservation, with the goal of increasing public awareness of the destruction of mangroves and its consequences.”
UAE: “In the late 1960s, petrodollars were filling Abu Dhabi’s coffers and new infrastructural projects, like schools and hospitals, were only starting to come up. But for those who loved the printed word, there was not a single bookshop in the emirate. That was when 20-year-old Tahseen Al Khayat, originally from Beirut, landed in Abu Dhabi from Kuwait with a suitcase full of books. When he opened the first All Prints bookstore on Airport Road, it soon became a favourite haunt for both expats and Emiratis.”