Tags: new york magazine

Blood Will Tell

The state of the biz

New York magazine has a long article about the state of publishing.

In the past dozen years, all I've heard is lamenting about the state of the industry. I'm not sure what anyone can do about it, or even if it's as bad as they say. One thing about writing YAs - at least in school there is still the idea that kids should read for pleasure. There is a lot of effort expended on coaxing the reluctant reader. The world seems to have given up on adults who don't like to read.

Some excerpts from the article:

“There used to be a reason to get into publishing,” says Carroll [formerly of Carroll & Graf. Full disclosure: I once spoke to him on the phone because he was used as a reference - but I no longer remember for what.] “Whether they know it or not, they all want to be Maxwell Perkins. It’s a kind of secondary immortality. They didn’t flock to publishing because they want to publish Danielle Steel.”

“Some people say there’s not enough marketing done for a book, and I think that’s total bullshit. You do the marketing that works, and not much is working right now.” says Peter Miller, director of publicity for Bloomsbury. He also says [and part of me agrees]that book trailers "are all the rage right now, but I would love to see an example of one video that really did generate a lot of sales. There’s a sense of desperation.”

The article discusses some facts that probably haven't changed for a while:
"The remaindering and shredding of books—a cost borne largely by the publisher—is a relic of a consignment model developed during the Depression that makes no modern sense. Publishers also pay for placement in big bookstores, which they call “co-op,” under a complicated arrangement meant to cover up the fact that it’s payola (or, as some call it, extortion). Those 300 copies of, say, American Wife stacked precariously at the entrance? Bought and paid for by the publisher. “You feel raped having to pay for placement in a store you’re selling to,” says an agent."

Read morehere.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I think there will always be a market for stories. But the market might look different.



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