Monday, August 05, 2013

MediaWeek (V7, N32): Detective Fiction, Barnes & Noble + More

Why detective fiction works from New Statesman:
This may or may not be a good thing. These days, you can comfortably inhabit the world of eccentric amateur detectives and embittered private eyes all year round, in the company of learned fellow travellers, on television, at the cinema, in books and online. There are murder mystery weekends and endless box sets; in classrooms, at conferences and on college campuses, it is now de rigueur for undergrads to study crime fiction and its relationship to feminism, post-colonialism and critical theory, just as I once had to sweat my way through Troilus and Criseyde and the meaning of courtly love. At City University in London, you can now study for an MA in crime thriller novels. Doubtless at a certain point, even Michael Gove will capitulate and make Elmore Leonard his grammar tsar. The underground has become the mainstream.
Just to recap, for those few who haven’t been paying attention or who haven’t had the chance to study, say, module EAS3217 (“Crime and Punishment: Detective Fiction from the Rue Morgue to the Millennium”) at the University of Exeter or EN658 (“American Crime Fiction”) at the University of Kent: Edgar Allan Poe invented detective fiction in 1841 with his short story “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, then Wilkie Collins wrote The Moonstone (1868), then along came Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie; America went hard-boiled; and now there’s everything else, including a lot from Scandinavia.

Boris Kachka with some needed perspective on the news about Barnes & Noble (New York):
The industry that looked on Barnes & Noble as a virus now treats Amazon like a pandemic. Just last week, in advance of Obama’s visit to an Amazon warehouse, a letter from the ABA (now down to roughly 1,500 members) called Obama’s praise of the company “woefully misguided.” Publishers, meanwhile, are a lot more open in their disdain for Bezos than they ever were for ­Riggio—especially after Amazon came out on top in a recent antitrust suit over e-book prices. Now they’re on the side of Barnes & Noble, the last bastion of bricks and mortar. When Microsoft invested in the Nook last year, publishing CEOs wrote in to congratulate Lynch.
But that cooing sound you hear from publishers isn’t love for Barnes & Noble; it’s fear of its disappearance. Last year, one executive compared a B&N-free landscape to The Road: “The postapocalyptic world of publishing, with publishers pushing shopping carts down Broadway.” For all the anti-chain agitation, publishers long ago adapted to a world in which one business controls 25 percent of the market. And while it may have hastened publishing’s own rapid consolidation—culminating in this year’s Penguin–Random House merger—Barnes & Noble never seriously jeopardized the publisher’s role as the supplier. Amazon, though, is now a growing publisher in its own right, threatening to make not just bookstores but traditional publishers obsolete.

In sports this week from Twitter feed:

James Anderson of England poses with Bob Willis ,Ian Botham and Michael Cairns, the Lancashire Chairman after after becoming the highest Test wicket taker whilst playing for Lancashire during Day one of the 3rd Investec Ashes Test match between England and Australia at Old Trafford

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