Publishing Industry News: Nov. 22, 2019

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

• Muhammad Abdelnabi of Egypt has won France’s 2019 Arab Literature Prize for La Chambre de l’Araignée (In the Spider’s Room). The book is based on an actual event in Cairo in 2001, when 52 men were arrested during a police raid on a floating disco called the Queen Boat and were subsequently beaten and tortured.

• First Scribner and the Washington Post teamed up to release a book version of the Mueller Report, and now they’re set to release a graphic-novel version called The Mueller Report Illustrated: The Obstruction Investigation on Dec. 3.

• After a bidding war, Amazon Studios has won the option to Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House, an adult-fantasy debut.

• In order to deal with congestion issues at its warehouses, Amazon has been cutting book orders to publishers during the last several weeks. Indie publishers have reported falling behind on their online sales, with some experiencing order reductions of 75 percent compared to the previous year. Worried by the lower numbers, some have said, “We [could] lose the entire holiday season.”

• One of the first initiatives under the leadership of new Barnes & Noble CEO James Daunt has been announcing the short list for a new Book of the Year award whose nominees and winner are chosen by Barnes & Noble booksellers. Nominees include The Testaments by Margaret Atwood; The Food of Sichuan by Fuchsia Dunlop; Mythos by Stephen Fry; The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy; The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides; Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout; No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg; and The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead. 

• Phillip Todd Wilson, a former Kentucky school principal, has been indicted on 17 counts of child-pornography charges. Ten years ago, he  was in the middle of a statewide and nationwide debate over school bans on books that featured LGBTQ+ characters. One author who was targeted in the ban tweeted, “Books that help kids examine the violence, abuse and shame they’ve endured are very threatening to the people who commit those acts of violence, abuse and shaming.”

• Actress Laura Dern will voice Louisa May Alcott in Audible’s new Little Women audiobook.

• With bookstore sales declining 2.3 percent in September compared to a year ago, sales for the first nine months of 2019 were down 5.6 percent compared to the same period in 2018.

• Emmy-nominated director and producer Joanna Rudnick and her creative team at Storied Studies are producing a full-length documentary about the power of picture books in the development of young children. Stories & Pictures By features children’s authors and illustrators Mac Barnett, Yuyi Morales and Christian Robinson. Rudnick is seeking $40,000 for the project through crowdfunding on Kickstarter.