Publishing Industry News: Jan. 10, 2020

Curious about what’s happening in the world of books and publishing? Catch up on the biggest acquisitions, news, adaptations and more here!

• Publishing giant Sonny Mehta, editor-in-chief of Knopf and chair of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, died Dec. 30 in New York City at age 77.

• After a months-long lawsuit against Audible and its Captions program, lawyers for Audible say they’re close to reaching a settlement with a group of seven major publishers. Although no details of the proposal have yet been released, a spokesperson for the Association of American Publishers told Publisher’s Weekly that “Audible has not presented a proposal they believe ‘moots’ their lawsuit.”

• Novel Bay Booksellers in Sturgeon Bay recently announced its best sellers for 2019. Titles include Death by the Bay and Death Stalks Door County by Patricia Skalka; An Elderly Lady Is up to No Good by Helene Tursten; In the Unsettled Homeland of Dreams by Thomas Davis; The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan; Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens; The Beautiful Poetry of Donald Trump by Rob Sears; How to Talk to Your Cat about Gun Safety by Zachary Auburn; Hidden History of Sturgeon Bay by Heidi Hodges and Kathy Steebs; A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles; Death Rides the Ferry by Patricia Skalka; Storm in a Teacup by Helen Czerski; The Silence of Darkness by Bradley James Tall; Good Morning, Door County by Ann Heyse; Haunted Door County by Gayle Soucek; The Faces and Places by Tom Jordan; The Cherry Harvest by Lucy Sanna; Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks; Circe by Madeline Miller; Goodnight Trump by Erich Origen and Gan Golan; Educated by Tara Westover; Vladmir Putin: Life Coach by Robert Sears; and Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin.

• After calling out a fellow romance novelist for a racist portrayal of characters in that novelist’s book, Courtney Milan received notice that she would be suspended from the Romance Writers of America (RWA). Although the RWA then tried to rescind the suspension decision “pending a legal opinion,” the damage had already been done. The RWA is now receiving backlash for the suspension, with other prominent romance novelists backing up Milan by using the #IStandWithCourtney tag. The still-unfolding controversy led at least 10 members of the RWA’s board to resign. Milan is no stranger to controversy: During her history as a romance writer, she has dissected the way racism works in romance novels and publishing.

• After spending more than 60 years in storage, about 1,000 letters written by poet T.S. Eliot to his confidant, Emily Hale, will be unveiled. Although biographers say Eliot wanted the letters burned, Hale donated them under the agreement that they wouldn’t be opened until 50 years after her or Eliot’s death – whichever came second. Scholars from around the world will travel to Princeton for this important moment in literary history.