Stephen Elliott reacts to BEA
Stephen Elliott just got back from BEA (BookExpo America, the “largest publishing event in North America”), and he wrote an essay about it.
I couldn’t agree with this more:
Literature is not dying. People are worried about publishing houses and book advances. Their concerns are echoed in the New York Times. Big publishers are thankful for vampire novels but sad because there was no Harry Potter this year.
But here’s the thing, I don’t care about those books. I don’t care about the publishing industry that’s concerned with cookbooks and celebrity memoirs. And I don’t believe the people that say they’re publishing celebrity memoirs so they can publish great literature…
…McSweeney’s seems to be doing fine, along with Graywolf and Two Dollar Radio. People buy books from these publishers written by authors they’ve never heard of. Just because. When was the last time someone bought a Random House book because it was published by Random House?
When all of that collapses the small presses will still exist. There’s too many people writing good books. If you write a good book it’s easy to get published, it’s just hard to get paid…
I’ll go a little further. McSweeney’s is fine now. Graywolf and Two Dollar Radio, too. But they may not always be fine. They may end. And, frankly, I think that that is fine, too. Sure, it’ll be sad when they go away. But the people who made them what they are will move on, will adapt, and will come back with a new and interesting project. Because they do what they love.
The majors can’t seem to do that because they can’t react to change quickly enough. They plod slowly forward because they have no other choice. It is the nature of their institutions.
We will survive.
Follow the block quotes link to read the rest of the essay by Stephen Elliott.
Tags: The Rumpus