books

Feb 28, 2012

Henry’s discontent: book-trade blues

W H Chong — Culture Mulcher

W H Chong

Culture Mulcher

The estimable Henry Rosenbloom, publisher of Scribe, has posted a blog sung in a key of passionate blue (pardon the purple). He’s a great believer in transparency, and here he is exposing the entrails of the crisis that our book trade is undergoing — and everyone gets to share in the pain.

Authors, book printers, multinationals: every category of woe is (rather cleverly) situated with an if:

“If you’re an independent bookseller in Australia at the moment, you probably feel better than anyone else in the industry does…”

“If you’re a book-buyer working for one of the big chains or department stores, you’re probably dreaming of a promotion to the meat products section…”

“If you’re a literary agent, you’re probably worried about where your next dollar is going to come from…”

“If you’re an author…”, “If you’re a book printer…”

(Though he doesn’t mention the poor old book editor, or book designer *sigh*.)

And of course: “If you’re a book publisher, you’ve got the blues real bad.”

He doesn’t neglect to lay the blame at the end.

Read Henry. Buy books. Act local (at least, some of the time.)

+ + +

Do we need publishers?

Over at the Guardian, the outrageously succesful British author Anthony Horowitz has written a piece titled, “Do We Still Need Publishers?” Which he thought was less partisan than “Thank Christ We Don’t Need Bloody Publishers Any More”.

He writes:

I remember my first meeting at Walker Books. The first question they asked me – and I swear this is true – was what mug would I like my tea in: the one with the teddy bear, the tennis racket or the pink one with the flower? And when I left the building, they asked me if I’d be OK taking the tube on my own. I was 33. I was married with a child. But they clearly saw me as some sort of demented child myself.

But wait, there’s more, plot and twists — it’s devious, and very considered: you’ll just have to read the whole thing…

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