terça-feira, 30 de outubro de 2012
Para enfrentar gigantes como Amazon, livros eletrônicos e uma verdadeira revolução no mercado, nasce a maior editora de livros do mundo. Nesta segunda-feira, a alemã Bertelsmann anunciou que sua editora, a Random House, e a Penguin Group, da empresa britânica Pearson, chegaram a um acordo de fusão. A nova empresa terá como meta realizar uma ofensiva sobre o mercado global. Brasil, Índia e China estão entre as prioridades do grupo.
Com um volume de negócios que chega a 3 bilhões e autores como Dan Brown, Toni Morrison, John Grisham e Patricia Cornwell em suas coleções, o acordo abre caminho ainda para uma consolidação no mercado de livros, justamente num momento de definição para muitas editoras. Só a Random House conta com 45 subeditoras, que colocam no mercado cerca de 200 livros por mês.
Segundo analistas, os tradicionais livreiros estariam enfrentando dois desafios paralelos. O primeiro é a quebra de dezenas de redes de livrarias, já que parte das vendas se transferiu para a internet.
O outro desafio é o fato de redes de vendas pela internet, como a gigante americana Amazon, terem acumulado amplos poderes para negociar margens, deixando editoras com uma participação menor nos lucros das vendas.
Pelo acordo, a Pearson - que também é dona do jornal britânico Financial Times - fica com 47% da nova empresa, enquanto a fatia restante de 53% fica com a Bertelsmann, empresa que já era uma das maiores do mundo, proprietária de tevês e, agora, dona de uma carteira de títulos que corresponde a 25% dos livros que se vendem no Reino Unido. O atual chefe da Random House, o alemão Markus Dohle, assumirá o cargo de CEO do novo grupo, que deixou claro que investidas na América Latina, China e India estão entre as prioridades.
Outra meta é a de entrar com força no mundo digital, hoje controlado por Google, Amazon e Apple, que redesenharam o mapa da indústria editorial no mundo e colocaram empresas centenárias em sérias dificuldades. A própria Pearson registrou um crescimento decepcionante de seus lucros nos primeiros nove meses do ano. "A união de esforços permitirá a publicação mais eficiente entre formatos tradicionais e novos formatos e redes de distribuição", declarou Thomas Rabe, CEO da Bertelsmann, numa referência à internet.
Com a fusão entre a Random House e a Penguin, o objetivo será colocar livros no mercado a custos mais baixos. Hoje, a Random House já é a maior editora do mundo e a Penguin ocupa a quarta posição.
Marjorie Scardino, CEO da Pearson, foi mais direta: segundo ela, a fusão "permitirá uma divisão dos custos e mais investimentos para tentar novos modelos nesse mundo excitante dos livros digitais e leitores digitais". Para John Makinson, presidente da Penguin, o mundo editorial vive "dias de transformação". "A parceria vai posicionar a Penguin Random House na vanguarda dessa mudança", prometeu.
A fusão foi anunciada depois que jornais ingleses relataram, no fim de semana, que a News Corp., que controla a editora HarperCollins, teria oferecido um acordo para comprar a Pearson. O acordo com a empresa alemã, portanto, seria um resposta à oferta do bilionário Rupert Murdoch, controlador da News Corp. A nova editora só ganhará vida no segundo semestre de 2013, depois da aprovação de agências regulatórias.
quarta-feira, 24 de outubro de 2012
Um dos escritores mais prolíficos de nosso tempo conversou hoje com Matt Lauer (Today - MSNBC) sobre seu novo livro - seu trigésimo - um thriller cheio de ação chamado "The Racketeer".
>>> john grisham made his first appearance on the "today" show back in 1919 for his second novel "the firm." 21 years later he's become one of the most successful authors of his generation. now his 30th back, an action-packed thriller called "the racketier." welcome back.
>> looked so young. 21 years ago.
>> everyone looked young back then. 30th book, and this is the first time that your main character in a book is an african-american, so i say congratulations, or what took you so long?
>> what took so long, i guess.
>> how was it writing this?
>> i didn't think of him as being black or white. he's a character, a lawyer in trouble, a lawyer in prison. it was a little bit of a challenge, you know, because it was a lot different, but once i got into the story and the plot it was a pretty easy story to tell.
>> when we first meet malcolm bannister he's in prison.
>> right, right.
>> serving a ten-year term, white collar crime. throughout the entire thing he said i shouldn't be here. don't belong here. this is a theme you like to dig your teeth into, the guys who either shouldn't be in prison for legal reasons or the priorities being screwed up in our legal system.
>> well, we have far too many people in prison, non-violent people who shouldn't be there. we have the highest incarceration rate in the civilized world. no one else is even close, and it costs 40,000 a year to incars rate an inmate, and 8,000 bucks a year to educate a kid. we've lost all sense of perspective when it comes to incarceration. i'm not talking about violent criminals. they belong and get what they deserve, but we have a lot of non-violent people in prison that shouldn't be there.
>> this story snowballs and really starts to gain momentum when a federal judge is killed.
>> here's your main character malcolm, and he uses something called rule 35 that a lot of people haven't heard of. tell me about rule 35.
>> every federal inmate knows about rule 35. if you are in prison and can help the authorities solve a crime that they really want to solve, you know something from the outside, can you basically cut a deal.
>> it's a get out of free card.
>> get out of jail free. you may have to go back and testify against this person, drug cases, mob cases, stuff like that, but if you can solve a high-profile crime from inside a prison you can get out.
>> to get to know white collar crime a little better, you studied it, as you do for all your books. you went to prison and actually interviewed some lawyers who were serving time. what was the experience like? what did you learn from those conversations in.
>> well, i've done that with several books. this time i real he to go back and do the research and talk to some guys in prison. well, first of all, just the nature of prison, daily life, how you survive, how you, you know, you take a very powerful rich lawyer and you put him in prison for six, seven years, whatever. that's -- that's some pretty rich material. you talk to the guy about what it's like to lose everything and be incarcerated, you know, you're ostracized and lose your license to practice law.
>> no control over your own destiny myomore.
>> very little, and these guys are broken men, obviously. they are in prison. it's fascinating research.
>> 30 books. how do you keep reinventing the wheel or do you even try?
>> read the headlines. it's given to me every day. i mean, we -- we have so many great cases in this country. we have such a fascination with the law, lawsuits, trials, there's always another story.
>> you're as big a consumer as you are an author?
>> sure. i'm always looking.
>> let me do this. when you come on the website lights up, people always have questions for you, and some of these you've heard and have probably answered before. let me get into a couple. this is from roamsy in salem, oregon. i'm sure you get this a lot. do you ever plan to write any sequels to your books?
>> i've never planned on it until now, and i'm giving serious thought to writing a sequel to "a time to kill."
>> why now?
>> well, because it lends itself to a sequel. can you go back and visit jake, our hero in "a time to kill" and tell all the stories from small time mississippi. that was the life i lived for ten years, and i'm very familiar with it. over the years i've been waiting for the great story, some other trial jake could have, a couple years after the trial in "a time to kill."
>> have you come across it in.
>> finally got the story.
>> by the way the rumor is that story is also coming to broadway, true or false?
>> it's true.
>> when is that happening?
>> casting "a time to kill" now and plan to open on broadway, plan to, in 2013.
>> all right. this one is another one. this is from andover, massachusetts, gary says out of all of your books which one is your personal favorite, and what's your all-time favorite book by a different author?
>> i'm partial to my first book, " time to kill" because it -- it's very personal. it's become the most popular of all books. books by other people, i don't know. there's so many i like. i go back to the "grapes of wrath" by john steinbeck is a book i still read periodically. read it in high school. i'm not saying it inspired me to write, but i remember thinking i sure wish i could write as clearly as john steinbeck. i love the story.
>> well, you've put out some amazing material. 30 books. this one is called "the racketier."
>> stephen king has written 48. trying to catch him.
>> don't be jealous.
>> so far ahead of me.
>> you're doing well.
>> my pleasure.
>> and the book again is "the racketeer." out today.
quinta-feira, 18 de outubro de 2012
The Ex-Lawyer (Disbarred) as a Good Guy
‘The Racketeer,’ by John Grisham
By Janet Maslin | The New York Times
At one of many moments in John Grisham’s new novel that find Malcolm Bannister, its main character, taunting federal investigators, he announces: “There is simply no section of your vast federal code that you can possibly use against me.” Mr. Grisham more typically writes about victims or escapees from the law, not about anyone with the nerve to flout authority this brazenly.
By John Grisham
343 pages. Doubleday. $28.95.
But “The Racketeer” is an unusual book for Mr. Grisham. Unlike many of his others, it has no soapbox to stand on and is not out to teach lessons about justice. This book is much more duplicitous than that. In its early stages it does follow the familiar Grisham template, in which a lawyer finds himself unexpectedly in legal trouble. But then it breaks out into the exhilarating tale of how Mal, a disbarred attorney, now a savvy, self-taught legal scholar, leads his pursuers on a long, winding chase.
Mal begins the book as a convict, an ex-Marine and former lawyer who got caught up in racketeering charges related to a crooked influence peddler nicknamed Barry the Backhander. The involvement of Mal’s tiny law firm in executing one of Barry’s real-estate transactions brought Mal a 10-year federal sentence for RICO violations he never knowingly committed. Mal’s wider story also involves a coerced confession, which will prove very helpful later. And Mal happens to be black. That fact seems to have nothing to do with the book until Mr. Grisham makes shrewd use of race later on.
The Grisham backlist is so long that Mr. Grisham has already written nonfiction about an innocent man (“The Innocent Man”) and a novel centered on a questionable confession (“The Confession,” featuring a Texas governor with a wicked resemblance to Rick Perry). So “The Racketeer” just sounds like more of the same. But this is not a story about a triumph or a miscarriage of courtroom justice. It’s the more devious, surprising story of a smart man who gets even smarter once he spends five years honing his skills as a jailhouse lawyer — and then expertly concocts an ingenious revenge scheme.
Like any Grisham book not involving baseball, “The Racketeer” has a plot built around a particular legal principle. In this case it’s a loophole called Rule 35. As part of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 35 allows for the reduction of a sentence if a defendant provides “substantial assistance in investigating or prosecuting another person.” Enter Raymond Fawcett, a federal judge who is murdered at his isolated weekend home. Also at the crime scene: the judge’s secretary, also murdered, and the judge’s empty safe, which is big enough to have contained contraband of some kind.
Early in “The Racketeer” Mal comes forward with what he says is important information about the judge’s killing. He claims to know the identity and motive of the killer or killers. And he will talk. All he wants in exchange: being let out of prison, placed in the Witness Security Program, given a surgically altered face and new identity and then set free to do whatever he likes with the rest of his life.
Mr. Grisham writes with rekindled vigor here. Perhaps that’s because he hasn’t mired this book in excessive research. As he points out in an afterword, he has made it all up: almost nothing in “The Racketeer” is based on fact and “accuracy was not deemed crucial.” Yet even though he dismisses himself as being among “the laziest of writers,” this author is no slacker. He has simply abandoned the legwork and gone back to what he does best, storytelling rather than crusading. (His own experience does seem to inform some of the novel’s vital plot points, particularly in regard to the lax security regulations for travel by private jet.)
For some writers Mal’s Rule 35 scheme might work as a book’s denouement. But for Mr. Grisham it’s just the jumping-off point for a long chase. He strategically keeps Mal’s trickery a few steps ahead of the story, so that we don’t know why he does things until after they have started to happen. And although this is a tough plot to describe without spoilers, Mal’s masquerading as an independent documentary filmmaker, becomes one of the book’s most enjoyable aspects.
Almost in passing, “The Racketeer” illustrates varied ways to circumvent the F.B.I., to violate financial regulations and to prove that crime just might pay. But the book is too cheerful to invite any tsk-tsking about what Mal gets away with. Mr. Grisham packs just enough unfairness into the original prosecution of Mal to justify anything he does afterward, even when he’s conning government agents. “Just act like a lawyer,” one such agent instructs Mal, as the two of them prepare to make a jailhouse visit.
“If he only knew,” Mal thinks.