April Fool's Day for the book industry means a day of pranks, tricks - and perhaps a few pointed digs at powerful players like Amazon, all in the name of a "joke."

Literary connections to the day stretch back many years - Herman Melville published his final novel The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade on April Fool's Day, the very day on which the satirical plot was set, while the first mention of April Fool's Day is held by some scholars to be in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.

This year, among the merry pranksters:

Followed by Figment, on a similar theme:

BookRiot published four fools for the price of one, including an EL James "52 Shades" romance imprint, and Jeff Bezos buying the top 50 independent bookstores. And, disappointingly, there isn't actually going to be a Building Stories TV show from Chris Ware.


Shelf Awareness described "a tumultuous weekend in publishing" in which the Big Six became The Big One:

"One, under the aegis of Random House, combines HarperCollins and Hachette and will be called Random Ha Ha, while the other, under Penguin, comprises Macmillan and Simon & Schuster, and will be called SSMac Penguin."

Marketing guru Seth Godin "announced" the Kindle Zero, a Kindle that is completely free - a story that has some basis in fact.

Chelsea Green, a small publisher of books about sustainable living, unveiled their latest imprint: Apocalyptica (™), a new eBook-only imprint for “green” erotica. "Who’s writing erotica for the permaculture activists, horse farmers, fermentos, and orchardists? No one. It’s an open market. We decided to jump in bed right away," their President "said." They should be careful - this is the kind of prank that could end up becoming real.

The Millions revealed the latest Amazon purchase: English™.

"Amazon announced today that it has acquired the English language and plans to fully privatize the world’s predominant mode of written communication. As of 6 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time April 1, anyone writing in Amazon’s proprietary language, now known as English™, will be obligated to pay a “licensing fee” to the Seattle-based online retailer."

Writer Edward Champion is hot on the heels of a big scoop.

And apparently we have acquired a squatter:

Kaparica in the comments below points out that The Writers Trust in Canada has a new award:

A prize of 25,000BTC will be awarded to the writer of the tweet, pin, or Facebook post, published between April 1, 2012 and March 31, 2013 that, in the opinion of the jurors, is the year’s best social media post...

The finalists must agree to:
• Supply the Writers’ Trust with eighteen additional copies of the submitted post.
• Affix stickers provided by the Writers’ Trust to the foreheads of all friends and family.
• Retweet and share anything the Writers’ Trust ever posts in the future.
• Attend the International Festival of Authors in Toronto in October 2013.


It's a tricky day for book publicists, of course, as Sarah Weinman of Publisher's Lunch points out:

We'll add to this list as the day goes on! Have you spotted any literary-themed April Fool's this year? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @HuffPostBooks!

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