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How do you guys really feel concerning the publishing trade?

I spoke to a the rest supplier just lately *- somebody who buys massive shares of books which have nowhere else to go after they’ve trickled down via the publishing world* – and he talked about how nowadays there’s so much much less imaginative writing as a result of everybody can simply publish (celebrities and on a regular basis individuals), so in comparison with the previous, he says there is not any actual substance to the hundreds of books being printed every month.

I personally assume that outlook is a bit cynical, however he made just a few truthful factors when he talked about the pure wastage that goes into the trade and the truth that if you happen to go into any bookstore searching for a title that was printed solely a 12 months in the past, odds are you will not discover it- as a result of some new on-line sensation has taken its place. Which is form of loopy if you truly give it some thought, however that leads into one other matter of what is occurring to impartial guide shops.

So, what do you guys consider the publishing trade? Are too many books being printed? Is the standard of writing taking place with extra books on the market or up?

Comments ( 17 )

  1. I have no contribution except that a book like Memoirs of Hadrian is much better than ACOTAR or Madeleine Miller crap. I am wondering if any people feel the reverse. Maybe that is why ACOTAR and Madeleine Miller are bestsellers.

  2. Thing is that it’s the mass appeal best sellers that finance the rest of the industry. A publisher can take a gamble with a new author or a more niche book because they’ve also got some big celebrity biography raking in the cash. Maybe the gamble will pay off, maybe it won’t, but it won’t bankrupt them. I suppose the problem comes when they stop taking a gamble and only go with what they are confident they will make money on. But that’s not confined to publishing. The movie industry suffers the same thing, even more so, given the up front cost of making a movie.

  3. There have always been tons of crap books. Whatever the current trend in publishing is, there’s always someone to loudly proclaim how it’s killing books and things used to be so much better. I think the publishing industry sucks, but I also think it’s more or less always sucked.

  4. I think the publishing industry as a whole has grown a lot and with that it comes more books, good or bad. If there are more books generally, there are also more bad books and thus they become more noticeble for people.

  5. It has become much more corporate, more focused on making money and so less likely to innovate or go with steady moderate successes. There are still a lot of small presses, but they have a much smaller share of the market (same thing in film – take a risk or another Marvel? – Marvel wins every time). The gap has been filled with self-publishing, which lacks most forms of quality control and is very uneven (and does not pay).

  6. As a published author I agree with him to an extent – publishing moves quickly and even your own publisher will only devote a certain window of time to promoting your book before they have to move on to the next release. You may have a few weeks or a month of being featured on social media before their next book becomes the ‘new big thing’ and after that you’re on your own. Statistically, I know that my publisher is releasing more books than ever before – I think that’s largely an attempt to ‘hedge their bets’ by publishing a wider variety of books that will appeal to everyone. That’s a mixed blessing because it allows people who would normally not have been considered marketable to get a seat at the table, but that element of risk taking also means that the ‘safe’ more commercial books, or those written by/about celebrities also need to be pushed to offset the risk.
    However, I don’t think that necessarily means the books published are lower in quality.

    The explosion of online book marketing probably makes it feel as though there are more books than ever, but I’m not sure if that really is the case. Books have been remaindered since the introduction of the paperback.

  7. A Quality of hardcover books in US become terrible.

  8. Has it not always been that way? I’m thinking of the pulps and penny dreadfuls – low quality stuff that wasn’t meant to endure, just entertain. My mum certainly had an abundance of low/mid-tier chicklit and scifi when I was growing up and I couldn’t name more than three of those authors now.

    I love that ebooks are a thing, even if the signal to noise ratio is abysmal. It’s great that people can publish whatever weird shit they like, without having to sneak by the trad publishing gatekeepers. The tradeoff is that much of it is low effort/weird shit that *I don’t like* but cest la vie.

  9. This is just straight up gatekeeping. It sounds like a grump old person who thinks the whole world should roll back to the state it was in the last time they were happy. Everyday people shouldn’t write books? Come off it. Everybody who wants to write a book should.

    Yeah, if you go into a store looking for an obscure title published a year ago, you probably won’t find it. But stores have limited physical space. They can probably get it for you, it just might not be in stock. Id hate to live in a world where the amount of books being published was limited by what the average bookseller could fit in their shop.

  10. It’s not perfect but I’m glad it exists because many books that match my interest have been published

  11. Never being able to find something published over a year ago that wasn’t used for a celebrity book club in the last 2-5 years is why I stopped shopping at “regular” bookstores and only shop secondhand shops, ThriftBooks and Amazon now. It’s ridiculous.

  12. There is a verse in Ecclesiastes that says “of making many books, there is no end.”
    I think the problem with saying the publishing industry has less quality than it used to, is to ignore that books have always been around, and there has almost always been more books than people could consume in their lifetime.

    Nowadays, I do feel that anyone can get published if they get a certain kind of hype surrounding their book on social media. However, that’s not a bad thing.

    There has always been a smaller number of high quality books (War and Peace, The Secret History, for ex.) which is what makes them special.

    If people enjoy reading about aliens and fantasies and rom-coms, that’s totally fine, and I think it’s hypocritical to say that these books bring down the quality of publishing, because without these books, the really spectacular ones wouldn’t stand out.

    It falls on the reader to decide what they want to read, and what they don’t want to. If someone’s tastes falls on the spicy, less “learned” side of books that’s fine, and if another’s preferences leans toward the meatier, literary novels that’s fine too.

    The high number of books being published only becomes a problem when people stop reading.

  13. Question for OP: how does self publishing fit into the publishing industry to you, or some of the newer publishers focusing on web novels and related books? When you say publishing industry are you only talking about traditional publishers?

  14. Wasteful factories.

    Don’t know about fiction but non-fiction publishers have to publish a certain number of books every season (spring and autumn). I imagine there are a few hundred publishers in the UK, many with multiple imprints, each with quotas of probably ~10 different books per season to be produced. That’s thousands of books twice a year every year. Bookshops house a teeny tiny fraction, as they receive an onslaught of choices to purchase and will probably stock what is popular/on-trend/famous author to make money. Some books really are great and innovative but get lost among the noise either because the author didn’t have a following, there were better versions available or they didn’t receive any marketing budget. A lot are regurgitated info you can find on the internet.

  15. I worked in the publishing industry from 2008 to 2012, which was a particularly rough period largely due to the transition to digital, and various mergers. lots and lots of layoffs and money was always tight.

    my take on the issue you raise: books that sell pay for books that don’t. maybe it would be lovely if deep, substantive literary fiction was what populated the majority of the bestseller list, but that’s simply not what most people want to read. casual, relatively superficial books read primarily for entertainment are a lot easier for people to connect to, and they sell a lot more. in many cases, the amount of money those books earn is what allows publishers to also publish more niche work, literary fiction, etc.. which often does not even earn out the advance paid to the author. in short, if it weren’t for all the fad celeb books and other huge sellers that seem to disappear from public memory after a year, then a lot of the really good books published by other imprints of the same houses would not have been published at all.

    one of the biggest problems in the industry is the amount of money that goes towards things that are not remotely helpful to the writers or books involved. how does random house merging with penguin benefit literature overall? how does it benefit any writers? it doesn’t, it was done purely so they rich people at the top could get richer, and it involved a ton of resources being spent on the related legal and logistical costs instead of on books.

    >the fact that if you go into any bookstore looking for a title that was published only a year ago, odds are you won’t find it

    I would say this is a rather extreme exaggeration, not a “fact”.

  16. Published author. It’s completely broken. They do nothing for authors except gatekeep the gates they themselves erected. Money is the only priority and they don’t seem to care about storytelling or literature any more. Marketable is all that matters, and of course unless you’re already famous, you’ll be doing your own marketing.

  17. Two words

    Gabbie. Hanna.

    how did hell she get published?

    because she’s a public figure and the industry doesn’t care about ‘good books’ anymore they care about money they’d rather publish a bad book from a well known personality than publish a phenomenal book from someone with not social media presence I love writing and reading

    Books are my life

    And heartbreak to see people not appreciate them for their beauty and the light they bring to the world books deserve more than that

    Without books there would be no fairy tales to fire up one’s imagination, no happy endings to sigh over, and no inspiring tales of fortitude to look up to for kids and adults alike.

    Took that from an article

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