There is an interesting article in the NYT that talks of the demise of the publishing industry, but not for some of the many reasons people might think.
(The typical excuses: no one reads, no one is buying books). Instead, the focus is on the consumer and the Internet, and what that means for the publishers and writers.
After all, how often do you skim the pages of Amazon to find that old classic novel for a penny, rather than buying it full price from a bookstore?
I did this just last week, ordering “Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov, “An American Tragedy” by Theodore Dreiser, and “Easter Parade” by Richard Yates.
I don’t think I spent more than $2.50 per book, plus shipping.
Even the author of the NYT article admits he is guilty of this “crime”:
“In other words, it’s all the fault of people like myself, who increasingly use the Internet both to buy books and later, after their value to us is gone, sell them. This is not about Amazon peddling new books at discounted prices, which has been a factor in the book business for a decade, but about the rise of a worldwide network of amateurs who sell books from their homes or, if they’re lazy like me, in partnership with an Internet dealer who does all the work for a chunk of the proceeds.”
Though I’ve always said that part of the problem is that publishers only want to publish safe, little fluffy books nowadays. They try to push out what they think will be “Blockbusters” rather than someone who is a real writer. And of course, literary agents do not help matters either.
If you’d like to know more, read the full article.