The walls of Molly Crabapple’s Financial District loft are lined with paintings. Works in progress rest on easels and drafting tables around the apartment, where she has resided for the past five years with her boyfriend, the illustrator Fred Harper, and her senescent cat, Puddy. During the protests in Zuccotti Park in 2011, Ms. Crabapple, 30, turned her living quarters into a press room, and Matt Taibbi, whose new book she is illustrating, has called her “Occupy’s greatest artist.” The Museum of Modern Art seems to concur—they just acquired one of her Occupy prints.
Mergers and Acquisitions
HarperCollins’s parent company News Corp. is interested in acquiring Simon & Schuster from CBS, according to The Wall Street Journal, which is also owned by News Corp.
The prospect of a merger between Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins doesn’t come as a surprise to publishing insiders.
Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins, has announced its partnership with actor Johnny Depp for a new publishing imprint, the predictably Goth-ishly named Infinitum Nihil. The imprint, Latin for “Hasn’t been edgy since Ed Wood,” is to publish Douglas Brinkley’s Unraveled Tales of Bob Dylan. Mr. Brinkley, a noted historian, profiled Mr. Depp for Vanity Fair in 2009. Read More
THREE'S A TREND!
Scientology head honcho David Miscavige’s niece has a book deal for a tell-all about the organization. Tony Ortega, former editor-in-chief of The Village Voice, is trying to get a book deal about the subject (rather than just blogging about it at the alt-weekly). The Master is in theaters. There is ongoing interest in Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes (and a Vanity Fair cover story).
At 11 am on Tuesday morning, a few representatives from SumOfUs.org and CREDO Action, and a photographer they brought along, milled outside the HarperCollins headquarters looking hesitant.
They were holding a FedEx box bearing the message “Stand up for Equality!” affixed with a computer printout of the Berenstain Bears. Inside the box were 80,000 signatures—collected Read More
If She Did It
HarperCollins bought Amanda Knox’s memoirs for close to $4 million, The New York Times reports. The memoir will be shaped by the diaries Ms. Knox kept during her four years imprisoned in Perugia, Italy on murder charges which were later overturned.
Print to Pixels
HarperCollins has filed a lawsuit against digital publisher Open Road over the e-book version of Jean Craighead George’s Newbery Award-winning children’s classic Julie of the Wolves. Originally published in 1972 by HarperCollins, Open Road arranged to publish an electronic version directly with the book’s author. In a statement, HarperCollins spokesperson Erin Crum told Publishers Weekly that “HarperCollins Publishers believes in protecting its exclusive rights. Our contract with Jean Craighead George, the author of Julie of the Wolves, grants us the exclusive digital rights to the book, and Open Road’s e-book edition violates our rights. We intend to take all appropriate steps to protect our exclusive rights under copyright against infringement, in this case and in any instances that might occur in the future.” The e-book still appears to be for sale online.
The scene at a union rally today in front of book publisher HarperCollins was sodden but cheerful, as HarperCollins employees donned blue ponchos with the gold UAW logo and gathered to protest stalled contract negotiations with their employer. Carrying signs that read “Thousands of Children’s Books Can’t Be Wrong: Learn to Share” and “What Stinks Worse, Dirty Diapers or Reducing Maternity Leave?” HarperCollins employees expressed love for their jobs but dismay at the prospect of no more guaranteed raises, reduced seniority protections, restrictions on vacation time, higher health care costs and shortened maternity leave. These concerns have resulted in a standoff between HarperCollins’s management and UAW Local 2110 that is now almost a year old.
A tipster has forwarded us an e-mail that HarperCollins’s union, Local 2110 of the UAW, has been sending to writers who have published books with the company, asking the writers to sign an open letter of support. As we reported earlier, a protest at HarperCollins has been announced for next Wednesday. The e-mail, which we publish below the jump, requests support from authors in ongoing contract negotiations. Our tipster called the experience “slightly awkward.”
The contract dispute at the company predates Occupy Wall Street, but appears to be benefiting from its energy. “Essentially we have been in negotiations with them for over a year,” Eden Schulz, recording secretary at the union, told The Observer. She added that HarperCollins has been unwilling to cooperate with the union despite healthy profits. “They’re really lowballing us on wages, asking for increases in healthcare costs and trying to gut our seniority protection for our employees.”
There’s a flier going around at Occupy Wall Street events in recent days. “UNION RALLY,” it reads. “HARPERCOLLINS BOOK PUBLISHERS.”