mark athitakis

The next ten years, according to the NBCC

Here, you’ll find a panel discussion with some NBCC people on the “next ten years” of book publishing. Whereas the title of the panel misleads (you’d think the panelists would talk about book publishing but they end up talking more about being book reviewers/critics), it ends up being a fairly provocative discussion, one that both excited and angered me.

Some highlights:

1. Mark Athitakis begins the panel quoting DFW’s new book. The web is a seemingly egalitarian space. It offers “everyone” a chance to publish and review. This model engenders a “grassroots” or bottom-up opportunity, for the “people” to decide what is “good” and ought to be read, as opposed to our top-down model now, with a handful of publishers dictating what gets mass distribution. DFW argues, however, that the web ultimately will offer us too many opportunities, and that before long, we’ll be asking for “gate-keepers” to tell us what is good and where to find it.

2. Colette Bancroft, books editor of the St. Petersburg Times, extends the DFW conversation by arguing that the web enables EVERYONE to be a critic and the heyday of the gate-keeper is slowly going away. I like this idea, though I’m not sure I buy it.

3. Scott McLemee of Inside Higher Ed gives a shout out to the “youngins.” Apparently, he knows some young people who read, unlike most of the other panelists there. In particular, he mentions The New Inquiry and Rumpus, which I don’t need to link because everyone here probably reads it.


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March 23rd, 2010 / 1:31 pm