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Larry Kirshbaum and Jeff Bezos are in role reversal. 15 years ago Kirshbaum was the powerful head of Time Warner Books Group, and he bought a young online bookseller named Jeff Bezos to an industry party. Today, Bezos and Amazon are titans in the world of book sales, and Larry Kirshbaum heads Amazon Publishing. Acutally, Kirshbaum isn’t heading up Kindle Books.
Last May, Amazon hired the 67-year-old publishing titan to open a bonafide publishing house with the lofty goal of publishing bestselling books by big-name authors.
In interviews, Amazon executives cast their new effort as an experiment in the booming world of e-books, not a plan to displace the Big Six—Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Penguin, Hachette, and Macmillan. “What we’re building is more like an in-house laboratory where authors and editors and marketers can test new ideas,” says Jeff Belle, vice-president of Amazon Publishing and Kirshbaum’s boss. “Success to us means working with authors who want to find new ways to connect with more readers.”
Many people aren’t buying it. Amazon is the 500-pound gorilla poised to out market, out connect, out just about everything the big publishing houses don’t do. Add to the complexity of Amazon publishing best sellers the reality that Amazon is the largest customer of the publishing houses. Game on. More at Businessweek
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Good Magazine shares ‘What New Girl Says About the New Recession-Era Man’, drawn from Fox’s latest commentary on recession-era America. Much straight and psycho talk, too, is devoted to the changing lives of 21st century American women. ‘New Girl’ reminds us that straight men are changing, too. In many cases, they complete the gender reversal of roles and responsibilities — a situation damned by social conservatives.
Workers in the new economy use their personalities and communication skills rather than their hands. They build relationships rather than things. They rely on networking and “teambuilding.” They serve tech support or sandwiches with a smile, not to “customers” but to “guests.” They’re performers, paid not just to stock shelves but to nurture shoppers, not just to sell houses but to sell themselves. Even though workers of all genders are now told to wield these skills, we still associate this kind of work with women; social and emotional labor require the same expertise that caring for elders, heading up a household, and mothering does. The men of New Girl (and men in general) are encountering a new, feminized working world.
Anjelica Huston Moves On
WSJ Magazine features the life and times of Anjelica Huston, who at 60 and widowed from her husband of 16 years, the artist Robert Graham who died in 2008, expresses a “hard-won clarity about her life”. Huston is living in New York while shooting the new NBC series ‘Smash’, in which she plays a role that suits her. Her character is a producer coping with a marriage now over while fighting with strong convictions to advance her art.
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