Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Written in 1980

"The changes that have beset book publishing over the last two decades have inevitably created considerable turmoil among those who work in trade-book publishing. This turmoil is evident in the shifting of editors and authors from publishing house to publishing house in search of more secure or more advantageous arrangements; in changes in the traditional role of many trade-book editors, and also in the editorial process itself; in changes in the kind of people who enter publishing or who seem to be on the ascendant in the business; in what many editors feel is undue pressure on them to produce highly promotable books; in changes in the basic quality of competition between publishers, with complaints by the few remaining independent trade-book publishers that they are having trouble holding their own in a conglomerate-dominated business; in difficulties that certain categories of published authors are encountering in having their works kept in print and in the bookstores; and in the serious problems that some authors appear to have in getting their works published at all."
-- Thomas Whiteside, in the second installment of a three-part series, "Onward and Upward with the Arts: The Blockbuster Complex", appearing in the October 6, 1980 issue of
The New Yorker. (Sixteen months after I entered the business.)

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