[ilds] unfortunately verging on the poetic

James Gifford odos.fanourios at gmail.com
Wed May 30 12:33:06 PDT 2007


Bill and Michael said:

>> Things are getting bad in
>> Britain, however; almost all British
>> publishing companies have been
>> taken over by American ones.
> 
> In my ignorance I thought it was the other way around,
> e.g. Penguin taking over the American market.

Random House, the root of all evil...  Who owns Penguin?  When will Fabers
sell their archives?  The small publishing renaissance is not yet upon us,
but I do wait for it patiently.

A simple tactic I've seen played out over several years in the retail book
trade is for large companies to dominate a market (harming smaller retails
or specialty shops), ordering large quantities from very small publishers,
not paying the invoices on time, then returning the stock unsold -- this
often bankrupts the small publisher whose stock is then taken up and sold as
remainders...

We have more publishing diversity than ever before, provided you want your
book in vanilla or chocolate.  Doing something creative with the words
rather than the flavour requires a lot more effort, or at the least, a
willingness to engage with small publishers who often can't pay in any
significant way.  I'm longing for the day when the academy abandons its 20th
century derogation of the so-called 'vanity press.'  When an academic press
pays no royalties to the author, aims exclusively at a library market, and
relies on subsidies from the academy itself, do we not have a vanity press?
Within academic publishing, I think this is particularly bad, and I say that
as someone who admittedly publishes almost obsessively -- having a
successful publication is almost anathema, as is anything that actually gets
read...  But, what else is a committee to judge one by?

Def'n: Donkey: A horse designed by committee.

Best,
James




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