Literary Links: June 14 – 20

Happy Friday darlings! After a long week, it’s finally time to kick back, relax, and catch up on the week’s bookish news. Here are five fascinating stories from the last week!

1. BEA and BookCon announced some changes for next year’s format. BookCon will run for a full two days in 2015, and BEA will start half a day earlier to accommodate. Although I’ve seen some concern over what may be a shift in focus from trade to consumers, it seems like a good step toward separating the two events to make them both run more efficiently.

2. Oyster, an e-book subscription app referred to as the Netflix for books, released their Android app. When it launched in September 2013, Oyster was only available for iPhone and offered 100,000 titles. Now, for $9.99/month, subscribers have access to more than 500,000 books. I haven’t used Oyster yet, but I’m eager to try it out once my TBR pile is a little less overwhelming.

3. Amazon announced their new Fire Phone, which can scan pretty much any item and direct you purchase it from Amazon, on the spot. It’s basically a tool that turns the entire world (including bookstores) into a showroom. This isn’t a surprising move from Amazon, but it doesn’t make me happy.

4. PEN announced the shortlists for its 2014 PEN Literary Awards. The finalists for this year’s PEN/Robert. W Bingham Prize, which awards $25,000 to the author of a debut novel, are A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra, Brief Encounters with the Enemy by Said Sayrafiezadeh, Everybody’s Irish by Ian Stansel, Godforsaken Idaho by Shawn Vestal, and The People of the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara. I loved A Constellation of Vital Phenomena but would also be thrilled to see The People in the Trees win.

5. Amazon cut delays on shipping JK Rowling’s latest novel, The Silkworm. In recent weeks, Amazon has been delaying delivery of Hachette titles for 1 to 2 months because of a contract dispute. However, due to consumer pressure, Amazon has caved and allowed quick shipping of The Silkworm. Because they’re only willing to put their customers’ interests above contracts when they’re facing backlash over blockbuster titles.

Happy reading, and enjoy the weekend!

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