We Offer To Help, We Get No Calls

March 10th, 2005 · No Comments
by Booksquare

Oh sure, maybe it’s because we get scared when the phone rings. It’s like the telegram of yore…nothing good can come from voice communication. Yes, probably major publishers should contact us via email for advice on running their businesses. That will reduce the likelihood of us staring at the Caller ID display with a mix of terror and confusion.

We get that “star” (and we use the term with the highest level of appreciation and disdain) books make bucks. Something (maybe cyncicsm) tells us that the initial sales rush is like that of a horror film…no legs, lots of remainders. Star books generate lots of press and probably sales. But they also come at a higher price (remember our publishing economics: the publisher spends a lot long before it receives some sums).

We admit we were amused by this:

Industry insiders say the upheaval at Random House has been driven by the dismal environment for books, pointing out that sales of backlist titles–Joyce’s Ulysses, for instance–are in decline and the market for fiction is generally lousy.

Please, please, please tell us that the fortunes of the company were not reliant upon Ulysses. Backlist is great (before we had our fascinatingly romnantic conversation about copyright, we had an arousing debate on the impact of the Long Tail theory on artists), but, if we may be frank. only so many people are going to buy and read certain books. We admit that James Joyce has a rhythm we enjoy. But we have our copy, and that should suffice in this lifetime.

File Under: Publishers and Editors