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Does Barnes & Noble sell books anymore?

Simon & Schuster sales dropped 3.8% in 2014, and profits dropped 5.6%. But that’s okay, they say: current initiatives “will march us into the future.” Your left! Your left! Your left, ri-ight, left!

Editing clauses in publishing contracts: how to protect yourself.

The latest Oprah Book Club pick is Ruby, by Cynthia Bond. Oprah fell in love with the book after only the first sentence. I’ll spare you the trouble of looking it up: “Ruby Bell was a constant reminder of what could befall a woman whose shoe heels were too high.”

It’s never too late to write that novel. In fact, maybe you ought to wait. JFK Jr., when asked whether he would ever enter politics, said it was an old person’s game. Something similar could be said for writing.

Tax insights from author Elizabeth Spann Craig.

Mark Twain’s tombstone plaque has been recovered. And for the record, I didn’t steal it. I’ve never been to Elmira, New York. Except for that one time, the day the plaque was stolen, but I was just passing through.

Is fan fiction the future of publishing? Part of the fiber, maybe, but the future? Nah.

Melanie’s Marvelous Measles brings out the trolls. Visit the Amazon page to read the reviews, but please don’t buy the book. You might catch something.

Library visits are down in the UK, by 40 million in four years. Libraries are closing and budgets are shrinking. To a bibliophile like me, this is Armageddon.

It gets worst. According to the National Endowment for the Arts, only 54% of surveyed Americans read a book last year. Fiction is declining. Poetry fell from 12% to 6.7%. The sky is falling!

And yet: listen to spoken word poet Sarah Kay recite “The Type,” and prove poetry is as relevant today as it ever has been.

Apparently Harper Lee is fine with the new book deal. At least everyone who purports to speak on her behalf says so.

Interested in being a correspondent for Town Crier? Write to editors at easystreetmag dot com.

Stephen Parrish is a contributing editor at Easy Street.