Today in books: Like magic, the Harry Potter e-books have arrived, E.L. James made a lot of money selling the film rights to Fifty Shades of Grey, and Ian McEwan has a late addition to the November publishing slate.
Our long national nightmare is over: digital editions of the entire Harry Potter series are now available over at Pottermore, J.K. Rowling's much-delayed clearinghouse of all Potter knowledge, which also happens to be the only place to download the e-book and digital audiobook editions of the novels. Give Rowling -- or perhaps the braintrust of the Pottermore Corporation -- credit for keeping the prices reasonable. The first three installments are selling for $7.99, while the final four darker and thicker entires go for $9.99. Another nice feature is that the books can be read via Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, and Google Play. [The Guardian and EW]
Julia Otsuka has won the 2012 PEN/Faulkner award for her novel The Buddha in the Attic. The honor comes with $15,000 in prize money, but this really is one of those awards where the honor dwarfs the purse. Otsuka's book about six Japanese mail-order brides sailing to San Francisco (it's so much better than it sounds) beat out 350 novels and short story collections from 2011 written solely by American writers. Past winners include E.L. Doctorow (twice), Philip Roth (three times), Don DeLillo, E. Annie Proulx, Tobias Wolff, Michael Cunningham, and John Updike. [Arts Beat]
Dara-Lynn Weiss, who wrote about putting her 7-year-old daughter on a diet in the April issue of Vogue and was called "one of the most fucked up, selfish women to ever grace the magazine's pages" by Jezebel for her trouble (the piece was kind of unsettling, to be fair), has landed a book deal with Random House's Ballantine imprint to expand the article. Terms were not announced, but the project has a tentative title: The Heavy. [GalleyCat]
The bidding war for the film rights to E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey -- which has been described as 'mommy porn,' though we prefer 'motherotica' -- ended with Universal Pictures and Focus Features closing the deal for $4 million. But The Wrap's Sharon Waxman says that Universal "paid far lower" than an $9 million offer from New Regency honcho Arnon Milchan. The numbers Waxman offers, though, simply suggest that movie math is hard. While the New Regency deal would have apparently paid James $9 million upfront, but it's tough to say just how much Universal's deal will end up netting James (and her agent). Universal is cutting a $4 million check just for the first book. And Waxman mentions there's backend (whatever "against $5 million from the box-office gross" means) that could pay more. Plus the $4 million is only for the first book. Universal has "built in provisions to option the next two novels," and presumably James wouldn't take less for the last two books than she did for the first? Whatever the case, we can all agree that E.L. James has already had a very good week. [The Wrap]
A late and very welcome edition to the November publishing slate: Sweet Tooth, a new novel from Ian McEwan, which The Millions hears is "set in 1972 and follow a female spy who is a compulsive reader of novels." We're sold. [The Millions]