From Amazon’s move into the Middle East to a long-overdue library book, here’s the latest literary news:
- Amazon has acquired the Dubai-based online retailer Souq.com in a move to enter the Middle East market. Souq, which sells a wide variety of products much like Amazon, announced its plan to launch a “global bookstore” of over six million titles at the end of February. Amazon’s recent purchase of the company could be a stepping stone to establishing market dominance in bookselling in the region, which is historically difficult for retailers to enter. Amazon executive Russ Grandinetti said, “Amazon and Souq.com share the same DNA—we’re both driven by customers, invention, and long-term thinking . . . we’ll work hard to provide the best possible service for millions of customers in the Middle East.”
- William Powell, author of the notorious manual The Anarchist Cookbook, passed away at age sixty-six. The Cookbook, which contains instructions and diagrams for assembling assorted types of weaponry, has been influential for several high-profile criminals since its publication, including Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and the pair responsible for the Columbine High School massacre. Powell came to regret writing the Cookbook and dedicated himself to volunteer work later in life. He said, “The continued publication of the Cookbook serves no purpose other than a commercial one for the publisher. It should quickly and quietly go out of print.”
- After thirty-five years, the Great Falls Library in Montana knows what happened to their missing copy of Richard Matheson’s Bid Time Return, a novel about a man from the 1970s who time travels to pursue a romance with a woman in the nineetenth century. The library received a letter from a man who confessed to stealing the novel, which he described as “. . . one of the, if not the greatest sci-fi/romance stories ever written.” The book thief, who claimed to have read the novel twenty-five times or more, had the copy restored and even signed by Matheson himself. Along with the letter, the man sent the missing book and a two hundred dollar donation to the library.