“The End: Have We Reached The End of Book Publishing As We Know It?” is a fascinating look at the publishing industry and struggles it is facing. While I don’t think publishing is going to ever end, I thought the article had some great insights into book publishing. This article reminded me of some things I’ve been thinking about recently; that is, why do we read what we read?
Here are some of my thoughts after reading this article:
- Book publishers are commercial companies, out to make money. Therefore, they choose books because of commercial appeal, not necessarily because it’s quality literature.
- A quote from the article: “What I’ve heard from editors is, ‘My judgment doesn’t count any longer.’ They didn’t flock to publishing because they want to publish Danielle Steel.” In other words, editors don’t have much say in book selection. Danielle Steel gets published, while better authors might not. (I was an editor for a short time before I realized how much I don’t want to read most modern fiction.)
- Chic lit writers (for example) get better book deals than do former Pulitzer Prize winners. What has the world come to? That seems a sad commentary on what people read. It’s not that all Pulitzer Prize writing is superb or that all “chic lit” is generic, but I’d think there should be a standard of writing that we expect when we pick up a book. It’s a shame that monetary decisions get in the way of quality literature being discovered (or quality writing being edited properly). (For me, at least, “chic lit” stories are meant to be watched, as in “chick flick.”)
- Books by bloggers really are not the next big thing. Sorry, folks, but it’s not going to happen. Bloggers are not going to save the publishing industry,
The bottom line:
- Simply because a book has been published does not mean that (1) the author made any money or (2) it is worth reading. These days, especially, publishing a business venture!
Why do you read what you read? I know I didn’t answer the question myself, but I find it interesting to think about what “a published book” really is and how it got between two covers (or not).