Today in publishing and literature: Vintage has acquired rights to the James Bond books, Suzanne Collins sends Scholastic stock soaring, and Dante is under siege in Italy.
James Bond has a new home. Ian Fleming's James Bond books, that is. The real James Bond will always be English. Always. But Vintage Classics has acquired the print and digital rights to all 14 of Fleming's original Bond books, taking over from Penguin, which couldn't come to terms with Fleming's estate on a new 10-year licensing agreement. The timing is particularly nice for Vintage, what with the terribly titled new Bond movie Skyfall coming out in the fall, and next year marking the 50th anniversary of Dr. No. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but it's safe to say Vintage paid a bundle. [The Bookseller]
Up, up, up. Shares of Scholastic hit a nine-year high Thursday, which Wall Street analysts are crediting to yesterday's stronger-than-expected first quarter earnings report, which was propped up by massive sales of The Hunger Games novels. Sales were so strong, the company has raised earning projections for the remainder of the year. Now there's talk that the film adaptation of the first novel in the Suzanne Collins series could gross more than $138 million next weekend, which would exceed the November opening Breaking Dawn Part I. Which raises an intriguing question: is there anything The Hunger Games can't do? [CNBC]
"Perpetual publishing." That's what Dutton publisher Brian Tart says you need to do if you want to be a potboiler fiction juggernaut these days. Sounds tough, but the strategy has certain worked for Harlan Coben, who has dutifully been pursuing a two-book-a-year strategy since 2001 and been rewarded with entry into the seven-figure advance club. Not bad for a guy who raked in a total of $21,000 in advance dough for the first four novels. [The Wall Street Journal]
Dante is under siege. Yes, Dante: the 13th century poet, of The Divine Comedy fame. Gherush82, an Italian human rights organization, is pressing to have the epic poem banned from classrooms over there, claiming it is anti-Semitic and Islamophobic, and that Italy's kids don't have adequate "filters" to read it. Literary types don't want it banned, because literature. Lost in the fray: the fact there are Italian schoolteachers who are working The Divine Comedy into the curriculum. That's a tough teach, even if the man is a national hero. [The Guardian]
Firsts A lady has won the Man Asian Literary Prize for the first time in the award's relatively short five-year history. The lady is Kyung-sook Shin and she won for her novel Please Look After Mother. In addition to fame and literary glory, the prize comes with a none-too-shabby $30,000 cash prize. [The Spectator]