Books – the endlessly expanding publishing waistline?

“… because you think if you own publishing you can control what’s printed, what’s written, what’s read? Well, lotsa luck, sir. It’s a common delusion of tyrants. Writers and readers, even as they suffer from it, regard it with amused contempt.”

Yet, the corporate publishing industry operates in those exact terms. Books are nothing more than commodity, with bestsellers being the lifeline that sustains the business model.

“The social quality of literature is still visible in the popularity of bestsellers. Publishers get away with making boring, baloney-mill novels into bestsellers via mere P.R. because people need bestsellers. It is not a literary need. It is a social need. We want books everybody is reading (and nobody finishes) so we can talk about them. …

Moneymaking entities controlled by obscenely rich executives and their anonymous accountants have acquired most previously independent publishing houses with the notion of making quick profit by selling works of art and information. …

… a “good book” means a high gross and a “good writer” is one whose next book can be guaranteed to sell better than the last one. That there are no such writers is of no matter to the corporationeers, who don’t comprehend fiction even if they run their lives by it. Their interest in books is self-interest…

And not only profit but growth. If there are stockholders, their holdings must increase yearly, daily, hourly. … How can you make book sales expand endlessly, like the American waistline?”

More: http://www.harpers.org/archive/2008/02/0081907

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http://www.SPYWRITER.com

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