Pub plays Cobain notes

Musician's notebooks to be published in November

NEW YORK — Riverhead, a division of Penguin Putnam has snapped up the rights to publish the notebooks of the late Kurt Cobain, the creative force behind Nirvana, for close to $4 million.

Proceeds will go to Cobain’s estate. Book will be published in November.

“We’re really impressed with the level of interest that people showed,” said a person associated with the deal. “Riverhead did a good job convincing that they knew how to treat something like this.”

Last week, editors were literally standing in line to see the 23 notebooks, around 800 pages altogether. Competitors were made to queue up outside the Edith Wharton Room in downtown New York’s Inn at Irving Place; upon entering, they heard a brief pitch from agent David Vigliano and then got a peek at the property.

People who have seen the diaries say they contain the minstrel of melancholia’s black-and-white drawings as well as lyrics and lists of musicians who influenced him over the years. Joni Mitchell was tops early on, but indie divas the Breeders took the No. 1 slot later.

The singer’s widow, Courtney Love, apparently has never read the books in their entirety and didn’t have any input in the project. According to the source, she doesn’t want to see the book before it’s published.

Love, however, gave author Charles R. Cross limited access to the diaries, which provided him with insight for his 2001 book “Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain.”

Fans hope the diaries will shed light on the songwriter’s dark existence and, most importantly, indicate what led him to kill himself in 1994.