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The new Amazon Coins are making some people in the publishing world a little uncomfortable. (Courtesy of Amazon.com)

Book News: Amazon Debuts Its Virtual Currency

by Annalisa Quinn
May 14, 2013

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Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon, is illuminated by a display screen at the introduction of the new Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Paperwhite.

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The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

  • Amazon debuted a virtual currency called "Amazon Coins" on Monday. The coins can be used to buy apps in Amazon's Appstore and on Kindle Fire. A dollar will get you 100 of the new coins, though the Internet retailer will discount coins bought in bulk. Although you can't yet buy books with Amazon Coins, the move has raised eyebrows in the publishing industry. Amazon did not respond to an inquiry about the exchange rate between its coins and the currency of Chuck E. Cheese.
  • A lost journal written by poet W.H. Auden at the onset of World War II has been discovered. The notebook runs 96 pages and spans the period from August and November 1939 — around the time he wrote the poem "September 1, 1939." The Independent cites one journal passage that reads: "Paper reports German attack on Poland. Now I sit looking out over the river. Such a beautiful evening and in an hour, they say, England will be at war." The manuscript will be auctioned at Christie's in June.
  • Glen Ellyn School District 41, an Illinois school district, has banned the young adult novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower from its library and classrooms after parents complained about its discussions of sex and drug use. At least they can probably still read The Diary of Anne Frank.
  • For Out magazine, Bret Easton Ellis, the controversial author of American Psycho (who identifies as gay), denounces what he says is the stereotypical roles gay men play in the media: "The reign of The Gay Man as Magical Elf, who whenever he comes out appears before us as some kind of saintly E.T. whose sole purpose is to be put in the position of reminding us only about Tolerance and Our Own Prejudices and To Feel Good About Ourselves and to be a symbol instead of just being a gay dude, is - lamentably — still in media play."
  • Barbara Salinas-Norman, a Chicana author and activist, was found dead in her apartment in Santa Fe, N.M., earlier this month. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that police speculate the 70-year-old woman known as Bobbi had been dead for several months. Salinas-Norman had been a successful children's author and the founder of Piņata Publications, but she later fell out of contact with friends and family, and her home was said to be in foreclosure.
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