The Time of the Book

Well, it's had a good long run, nearly 600 years. But...is it the 'end of the book'?

Here's an opinion piece by Tom Engelhardt in the LA Times. He has worked in publishing for more than three decades and is currently the editor of TomDispatch.com, where a longer version of this article is published.

From the article:
Worlds shudder and collapse all the time. There's no news in that. Just ask the Assyrians, the last emperor of the Han Dynasty, the final Romanoff or Napoleon -- or Bernard Madoff. But when it seems to be happening to your world, well, that's a different kettle of fish.

Two weeks ago, a close friend in my niche world of book publishing (at whose edge I've been perched these last 30-odd years) called to tell me that an editor we both admire had been perp-walked out of his office and summarily dismissed by the publisher he worked for. That's what now passes for politeness in the once "gentlemanly" world of books.

His fault, the sap, was acquiring and editing good books. The sort of books that might actually make a modest difference in the universe but will be read by no less modest audiences -- too modest for flailing, failing publishing conglomerates.

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I don't understand why print can't evolve.

why does it seem impossible for print publishers to evolve over to epublishing? if you have an eye for talent, then what's the difference?
the point is, publishing is a business, just as government is, so I always have an empty cardboard box near my desk for the day I'm told I have to go and do my crossword puzzle someplace else.

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