Critical Linking for January 4th, 2016

Essential to the book trade, the holiday period can usher in life-changing books that posit a sense of wonder to the mundane commerciality of sale shopping. From self-help guides through classic novels to illuminating autobiographies, our round-up of transformative tomes will capture every kind of reader.

This list of 9 Books That Will Change the Way You Think in 2016 is not at all what I was expecting. And I kinda liked it.

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Now, for his next project, “Belgravia,” Mr. Fellowes is marrying an old narrative form — the serialized novel, in the tradition of Charles Dickens’s “The Pickwick Papers” — with the latest digital delivery system: an app.

“Belgravia” takes place in London in the 1840s and opens decades earlier during the Battle of Waterloo. It explores the class divisions between the established aristocracy and newly wealthy families who made their fortunes through the Industrial Revolution. But instead of having the sweeping narrative arc of a novel, it will unfold more like a new network TV series, in 10 weekly digital installments that will arrive automatically on readers’ phones, tablets or computers. The chapters cost $1.99 each, and $13.99 all together.

The Downton Abbey dude is trying out a serial novel. Good luck.

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German trade publisher Bastei Lübbe and book retailer Hugendubel have come up with an unusual idea to get rid of unwanted Christmas presents.

The companies have invented a vending machine (pictured below) where consumers can dump a present and exchange it at the touch of a button for a book.

Sneaky good marketing idea.

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THE WINDS OF WINTER is not finished.

Believe me, it gave me no pleasure to type those words. You’re disappointed, and you’re not alone. My editors and publishers are disappointed, HBO is disappointed, my agents and foreign publishers and translators are disappointed… but no one could possibly be more disappointed than me. For months now I have wanted nothing so much as to be able to say, “I have completed and delivered THE WINDS OF WINTER” on or before the last day of 2015.

And now the TV series will officially be ahead of the book series. What a strange situation this has turned out to be.

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