Gloom permeated the publishing industry this year. The latest report from the U.S. Census Bureau says that book sales fell 5.6 percent in October, continuing a trend evident since late summer. Publishing houses are laying off staff, considering consolidation. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt even stopped acquiring manuscripts.
But there are other trends to consider before we write publishing's obituary. Amazon.com sold out of its Kindle electronic reading device as the holidays drew near, while Sony reports that it has sold more than 300,000 copies of its e-reader, and more than 3 million books were downloaded from its library. Could technology save reading? Maybe not. But there were other reminders that all is not lost when we want to celebrate the ineffable joys of reading.
LITERATURE'S TOP FIVE EVENTS
1. Junot Diaz wins Pulitzer Prize. The Dominican-born author scores with his first novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, a sharp, funny and ultimately devastating story of family, tragedy and multicultural disorientation.
2. Miami Book Fair International celebrates 25th anniversary. As book fairs dwindle around the country, the one in our back yard still thrives. Who says Miamians don't read?
3. Peter Matthiessen wins National Book Award. With Shadow Country, a rewrite of his set-in-Florida Mister Watson trilogy, he proved the value of editing.
5. Twilight mania: Stephenie Meyer publishes Breaking Dawn, the final installment of her quartet, and shows that young love and vampires can lure teens -- and their moms -- back into the bookstores.