Wednesday, June 02, 2010

"all the stories are strong, all the dust jackets are good looking, and all the sales are above average"

image:: Garrison Keillor, flavorwire

Oh, if only Garrison Keillor said that instead of his NYTimes op-ed that got under the skin of publishing types. The Keillor piece is short and there isn't much there and I think people need to relax and take it at its "tongue-in-cheek" face value::
"Call me a pessimist, call me Ishmael, but I think that book publishing is about to slide into the sea. We live in a literate time, and our children are writing up a storm, often combining letters and numerals (U R 2 1derful), blogging like crazy, reading for hours off their little screens, surfing around from Henry James to Jesse James to the epistle of James to pajamas to Obama to Alabama to Alanon to non-sequiturs, sequins, penguins, penal institutions, and it’s all free, and you read freely, you’re not committed to anything the way you are when you shell out $30 for a book, you’re like a hummingbird in an endless meadow of flowers."
Flavorwire compiled a set of responses by publishing industry folks responding to Keillor. There's plenty of reasoned responses making distinctions between writing and the publishing industry. I like this response the most and not just because Nash is a fellow startup guy::
“Culture doesn’t need publishing. Culture needs writers and readers connecting with one another. Publishing’s alleged demise is a problem only to the extent that publishing was doing a good job connecting writers and readers. But recent and current publishing was mostly in the bookstore supply business, only tangentially the writer-reader connection business. If the demise of the bookstore supply business pushes more talented editors, curators, and taste-matchers into the reader-writer connection business, our culture will be vastly improved by the demise of publishing as we had known it.”
– Richard Nash, former Soft Skull publisher, currently at work on social publishing startup Cursor
Writers and journalist need to heed the fact that the mass-market often wants "good enough." The issue isn't one of writing, talent, editing, etc., but one of relevance. The problem of content providers is that they're often at the mercy of others in between them and their audiences or users—print capitalism. The brand is everything and with the Internet, content is awash in a sea of clutter.

Song:: The Smiths-'Stop Me If You think That You've Heard This One Before'

Twitterversion:: [blog] Garrison Keillor op-ed take a tongue-in-cheek jab at publishing. Flavorwire compiled responses by industry types.  @Prof_K

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