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Our roundup of key news affecting authors. In this edition: Bookstores prepare to reopen, two book startups compete with Amazon, and more…

After the RWA Controversy, Romance Authors Say Publishing Needs to Address Racism
O, The Oprah Magazine
“Novelists Jasmine Guillory, Beverly Jenkins, Kwana Jackson, and Alyssa Cole share their stories.”

How Established Writers Are Helping Debut Authors Save Their Books from Obscurity
“Like most writers, I’m well aware that worrying about a book launch at this time of pandemic is almost the definition of a first world problem. But at the same time, letting go of something that is the culmination of a lifetime of trying and failing and trying again is an emotionally taxing process.”

Pulitzer Prizes: A Guide to the Winning Books and Finalists
The New York Times
Brief descriptions of all the winners and finalists in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, history, and biography.

Some California Bookstores Prepare to Reopen
Publishers Weekly
“California governor Gavin Newsom has begun to modify the state’s stay at home order to combat the spread of the Covid-19 virus, allowing some retail, manufacturing, and logistics businesses to begin serving customers in a limited way on Friday, May 8.”

Booksellers Face Difficult Decisions When Reopening Stores
Publishers Weekly
“The logistical questions bookstores face are myriad, including how to keep their spaces disinfected, how to restock even as the supply chain shows strain, which hours to open, and how to manage interactions between customers and staff.”

Coronavirus Notebook: Finding Solace, and Connection, in Classic Books
The New York Times
“In this time of crisis, we are reminded that literature provides historical empathy and perspective, breaking through the isolation we feel hunkered down in our homes to connect us, across time zones and centuries, with others who once lived through not dissimilar events.”

Coronavirus Escapism: Book Sales Surge During Lockdown
World Economic Forum
“While books offer a bright spot amid the decline for now, it remains to be seen whether the initial flurry will continue.”

Without Coronavirus Aid, Local Newspapers Could Fold
The Wall Street Journal
“Outlets under severe financial stress are ineligible for Paycheck Protection Program because of ownership structures.”

Two Book Startups Compete Where Amazon Won’t
“Suddenly, people are discovering new portals to online commerce that may change their digital habits for good. Two startups in particular are edging in on Amazon’s original turf: books.”

The Little Book Sellers That Could: How Indie Stores Managed to Take a Slice of Amazon Business
The Washington Post
“Without Bookshop, many small stores—and even bigger, well established ones—would not have been able to sell books during the pandemic.”

After Coronavirus Furloughs, Gannett Newspapers Lay Off Journalists Around the Country
“It’s unclear if the layoffs are in response to the economic impact of the coronavirus or the result of the merger with Gatehouse.”

Jay-Z Slams AI Impersonations on YouTube with Copyright Claims
Engineering & Technology
“Jay-Z’s entertainment agency has slapped copyright notices on AI-generated audio mimicking the star performing Shakespeare and other readings.”