Publishing Industry News: Dec. 20, 2019

• Bestselling author James Patterson has announced the names of the independent booksellers who will receive grants as part of his 2019 Holiday Bookstore Bonus Program. This year, he selected a whopping 500 indie sellers who will receive grants totaling $250,000.

• Jimmy Kimmel is donating the proceeds from his new children’s book, The Serious Goose, to children’s hospitals. He was inspired by the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, which saved his son’s life.

• A library in Zhenyuan County, Gansu, China, has been burning books. According to Chinese media reports, the county’s website explains that it has been focusing on removing and destroying biased, religious and illegal books. The action has received a lot of criticism. During the Qin dynasty, books were burned, and scholars were burned alive to control the populace and to prevent criticism of the regime.

• One of the judges of the Saltire Society Literary Award – one of Scotland’s most prestigious literary awards – has resigned, stating that her fellow judges did not read all of the books on the short list. She also cites gender bias as part of the selection of the winner: a man writing from a woman’s perspective versus one of the three books written by women about women.

• Merriam-Webster has announced its Word of the Year: “they.” Lookups for “they” increased by 313 percent in 2019 compared to the previous year. The top-10 most-searched words include, from one to 10: “quid pro quo,” “impeach,” “crawdad,” “egregious,” “clemency,” “the,” “snitty,” “tergiversation,” “camp” and “exculpate.”

• According to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, bookstore sales dropped 1.7 percent in October compared to 2018 and were down 5.6 percent for the first 10 months of this year. 

• TriStar Pictures is adapting Kristin Hannah’s bestselling book, The Nightingale, into a movie in which Elle and Dakota Fanning will play Isabelle and Vianne, the novel’s lead characters.

• The next book in Dav Pilkey’s bestselling series Dog Man: Grime and Punishment will be published on Sept. 1, 2020. The latest title, Dog Man: Fetch-22, was just released with a first printing of 5 million copies.