Fascinating stuff this, well worth reading!
I think most of the best-sellers list is the literary equivalent of daytime television. This is a world in which Danielle Steel is mysteriously more valuable than Shakespeare. Now, she may be more valuable than Shakespeare for a period of days, months or even years, in purely economic terms. But over time? We have the Royal Shakespeare Companys collection of Shakespeare works, which pays a royalty each year, a strong royalty. So the business were in is to identify and capture and anticipate the value of books that are inherently classics, future classics. If publishers did the same there would be less of the wild weekend in Las Vegas approach to acquisition that distinguishes the industry and its decline.
4 thoughts on “Go Read This | Andrew Wylie – WSJ.com”
Eoin, So glad I have more time to read blogs, because this link was really interesting. His take on e-readers and the survival of independent bookstores is heartening.
So great to see you here again! 🙂
He’s a really, really interesting character is Wylie!
“. . he stands foursquare for literary elitism . . ”
“We try to avoid people who can’t write. You can usually spot them from the first sentence, or from the cover letter.”
“Sure, writers these days can go directly to readers, without publishers or agents. But there needs to be a chain of people who have authority and can help convey what is essential.”
“. . the distribution of books will end up being a combination of digital and independent retailers. It’s very difficult for the chains to maintain a sustainable model. Independents will survive because people want independent bookstores to survive.”
I find it hard to see much value in Mr Wylie’s opining. He is clearly one of the more forward thinking in the Publishing industry, and I agree with a few of his views. But with quotes like those above, his being at the forefront doesn’t say much for those behind him imho.
I think you need to take that in the context of who he is talking to there. He’s saying to his clients, “you are the elite!”
He’s also saying that a filter, in this case a human one, is an essential part of the system. I’ve no issue with that, though I suspect his faith in human filtering is deluded.
As for bookstores, I suspect he’s on the money with them. Though not ALL indies will hold on!