Publishers, enough with vapid hype

Let's set aside the economic sound and fury and focus on the writing rather than the noise. Since the late 1990s, when computers began to enable publishers to track book sales to the copy, the industry has been numbers-dominated, less about the aesthetics of the language than of the spreadsheet. This is problematic, say, if you're a first novelist who gets a good-sized advance and a decent publicity push but only goes on to sell 1,000 copies of your book.

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