Dept. Of The End Of Books
Late news from the decline of books and booksellers:
- Paul Duguid, “Do You Love Books?” (TLS) reviews Bonnet’s The Phantoms On The Bookshelves, Horowitz’s Publishing As A Vocation, and Thompson’s Merchants Of Culture.
- Nicole Kraus, “Writer’s Block: the end of bookstores” (The New Republic)
- Jessa Crispin, “A Sea of Words” (Smart Set) has the subtitle, “Publishing isn't dead. Smart publishing, well, that's a different story.’ She begins:
“In the week it takes me to read five different books on how to be a writer, approximately 30 books are delivered to my Berlin apartment. This is a decline from the 15 to 30 that used to be delivered every day, and I’m grateful for the barrier of costly international postage that keeps these numbers down. I will immediately discard about three-quarters of the books. Some of these, I would say maybe eight percent of the books I receive, are self-published. Under their bios the writers dutifully list the writing programs they attended. Now they have landed here, with a clip-art book cover, a cheap binding, and a $12 stamp to send it to a book critic who doesn’t even really review fiction anymore. I feel bad for these writers, and the years of effort and money they spent on a writing education, and all of that boundless optimism that had to be required to get to this point. I do not, however, feel bad enough to read their books.”
- Ben Ehrenreich, “Death of the Book” (LA Review of Books)
- Bill Keller, “Let’s Ban Books”, is an editor at the NY Times and wishes his employees would stop asking for quite so much time off to write books.
“I’ve learned interesting things from the books of my staffers. I learned that I employed a financial writer who got himself so deep in debt he couldn't make his mortgage payments, a media columnist who had been a crack addict and a restaurant critic with a history of eating disorders. (To those who found these cases problematic, I replied that there is no better qualification for writing about life in all its complexity than having lived it.)”