Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Evidence That Authors Are The Least Important Part Of Books

In the eyes of booksellers and distributors, it seems that authors are not important, because our copyright is apparently not really under our control if it is bad for business, and it seems our careers can get the shaft by devastating the sales figures companies use as a blind guide to buying future books in the name of corporate pissing matches, or embrace publishing models that exploit authors and dilute the quality of the words on printed pages.

Nice to know where we stand in the world, considering how our imaginations, sweat, dreams, lost sleep, destroyed health, broken relationships, lost time, are the engines of creation that drive this entire multi-billion dollar industry. Are we nothing but cattle to the meat packagers?

I know editors don't believe that, and every publishing house's marketer or sales staffer or assistant I met was a true believer in the truth of books, but I wonder if everyone else in the supply chain has lost touch with the heart of what a book means to people until it gets through to the individual bookseller in the bookstore, another true believer that gets it, who earns near minimum wage in shitty retail conditions for the privilege of working in the stacks with something they love.

I hope the folks in-between wake up.

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