Round-Up: NC Anti-Trans Bill, Who Reads the Most e-Books, and PEN’s Israeli Sponsorship

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From authors who are taking a stand for human rights to a new study revealing who reads the most e-books, here’s all of last week’s literary news:  

  • Several authors have responded to North Carolina’s anti-trans bill by canceling scheduled appearances in the state on their book tours. However, these cancellations may be at the expense of indie bookstores. Two weeks ago Sherman Alexie canceled an appearance at Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville, NC, prompting the store’s owner to make a statement pleading to authors: “Please don’t abandon us; we need your support now more than ever.” Tom Campbell, co-owner of The Regulator Bookshop wrote to Publisher’s Weekly proposing that instead of canceling altogether, authors could use their platforms to help fight the bill. Publisher’s Weekly explained that “the store would donate a portion of the author’s and its proceeds to the North Carolina ACLU and the North Carolina Justice Center, which are fighting HB2.”
  • A new study has revealed that e-reader sales are driven most by women over the age of forty-five. According to this study about 77% of e-book sales are from women falling in this category. The numbers were compiled by Kobo, based on its own sales and a survey of sixteen thousand people who use Kobo or other competing e-book retailers. Kobo said these results make e-reading “the first technological revolution being driven by [those aged] forty-five and older, rather than younger generations.”
  • PEN American Center has been asked by several authors “to reject the Israeli Government’s sponsorship of its upcoming World Voices Festival because of the country’s alleged abuses of human rights.” Authors who have signed the petition letter include PEN members, PEN Award winners, and Pulitzer Prize winners–such as Junot Diaz, Alice Walker, and Richard Ford–along with a multitude of literary organizations. The letter states: “Given PEN American Center’s mission of supporting freedom of expression, it is deeply regrettable that the Festival has chosen to accept sponsorship from the Israeli government, even as it intensifies its decades-long denial of basic rights to the Palestinian people, including the frequent targeting of Palestinian writers and journalists.”