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will kindle for kindling

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My household currently contains, digitially speaking anyway, three books that are in process, two of which are nearing completion, one just barely started. My household thus tries not to think and definitely not to talk about the current state of the publishing industry. Especially not right before bed.

But christ if the new NYRB doesn’t feel thin, the thinnest ever. No ads, no ads, for no new books. Oh me. And then there’s this happy little number in this week’s LRB:

The share price of the corporation I worked for had fallen more than 80 per cent in the previous 18 months. The CEO of Barnes and Noble, the largest bookstore chain in the US, had just announced that ‘never in all my years as a bookseller have I seen a retail climate as poor as the one we are in, nothing even close.’

My boss ended our meeting with a reflection on the state of book publishing today. She said that two words sprung to mind: General Motors.


Peter Olson, until recently the chairman and CEO of Random House, wrote in Publishers Weekly last month: ‘While 2008 ended on a disappointing and even discouraging note for many in the book industry, the outlook for the new year is even bleaker. One-time adjustments by retailers and underlying shifts in the structure of the book industry will make 2009 the worst year for publishing in decades.’

Sure, it’s nothing to complain about compared to what tons and tons of people are facing or are about to face. But still, depressing. Trying to come up with a positive way to spin it. I guess it could be good for the, um, art not to worry about petty shit like selling this stuff or ever seeing it in print.

I tried! Now back to my real job: paper marking.

Written by adswithoutproducts

February 25, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Posted in crisis, publishing

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