Monday, April 27, 2009

publishing: the big picture

I have another post up at Jacket Copy on the panel Publishing: The Big Picture. The above photo is Kit Rachlis (right) and David Kipen, whom it was a pleasure to meet this weekend. We're fortunate to have him as our NEA literature champion.

...To earn shelf space at WalMart, a book already needs to be a bestseller. Rachlis described how other chains, such as Borders and Barnes & Noble, require a pay-to-play model, in which publishers must pay for the best placement in stores, leaving small publishers at a disadvantage. Other traditional venues for publicity – National Public Radio, newspaper book reviews – have been switching to an increasingly non-fiction menu, leaving fiction at a disadvantage.

However, all the news is not bad. Gibson praised the printed book as the “perfect form of technology,” prompting a round of applause. Kipen described the increasing success of the NEA Big Read program. Gibson explained that the chain stores offer deals for small publishers and argued that a loss of book space in the media does not indicate a lack of interest in reading among the general public. He also emphasized that newspapers are still reviewing and are increasingly vibrant and active online. Nadell stressed that what makes publishing interesting is that there is always a book that takes off against all odds.

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