The business of book publishing

June 29, 2008 at 5:08 pm (books)

There’s an interesting article in today’s Washington Post about the current state of the publishing business. “Turning the Page on the Disposable Book” goes a long way towards explaining some of the more odious practices of today’s book publishers. As we bibliophiles have long thought, the bottom line orientation of these entities largely accounts for the spectacular mediocrity of much of their product. (And we won’t even get onto the subject of worthy tomes going out of print with lightning speed.) Surprisingly, though, author Jonathan Karp offers a cautiously hopeful prediction concerning the direction in which he thinks the business might be heading.

“Not My Fault,” an essay by Jacob Heilbrunn that appeared in the June 22 New York Times Book Review, makes a rather apt companion to Karp’s article. Heilbrunn quotes the following comments by historian Michael Beschloss:

“Forty years ago, publishers had a pretty high standard for who should write books…There were fewer books published. You had better possess some literary ability.”

Further comment from Yours Truly not being necessary, I’ll end here!

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