Beyond the Blurb: On Critics and Criticism. Published by Cow Eye Press

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Good post.

Of course, most publishers "who throw their books out at the public through an exceedingly narrow 'window,'" would love to convert that window to a French door. The narrow time frame has little advantage for publishers. Or for readers either, since it means that word of mouth is less of a factor for sales than in the past. The window is created by bookstores that want to keep product moving and cannot afford to have books sitting idle for long periods of time waiting for an eventual purchaser.

This does become complicated as book publishing is increasingly controled by enormous entertainment corporations who may own not only the publishing aspect but also the media through which books are promoted and the retail outlets through which books are sold. This moves book publishing to a more Hollywood model in which a greater percentage of resources is devoted to a small number of top titles. Those top-selling titles account for a much larger percentage of total sales than in the past.



I have noticed that many books that get a very healthy number of good-to-rave reviews don't seem to benefit from them as much as one might expect. In the system as it stands, nothing can replace a publisher with a sustained interest in spreading news about a book and a commitment to supporting a writer's books over time. But that's not what the majority of writers have.

One of xensen's statements needs to be converted to a question. Here it is: What advantage could the narrow time frame for attention to a book have for a publisher?


Dan, do you feel that standards / tradition has been upturned by commodification? I'm taking a straw poll.

Dan Green

Everything in American has always been commodified. The intensity of commodification *has* increased markedly in the past 25 years, in my opinion.

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