Friday, February 10, 2006

Das Book

Slate carries an insightful article on why it is that German, French, and British companies are quite keen to buy American publishers (link from booktrade.info).

The main thrust of the article is a point which young wannabe writers are often completely unaware of, namely that, in financial and commercial terms, book publishing is a piddling little business of no real interest to any serious wheeler-dealer.

Time Warner, for instance, owner of such major publishing imprints as Little, Brown and Warner Books, has a market value of $85 billion. And it's just sold the publishing arm of the business (well, more like a fingernail, actually) for $537 million. In other words, publishing was six-tenths of one per cent of Time Warner. And yet writers imagine that selling a book to Little, Brown is a really big-time deal. T'ain't. Except, as I say, when viewed within the context of a piddling little business overall.

1 comment:

ivan said...

This, I find is eternally frustrating.
How does a serious writer compete with the barrage of junk mail, puff job stories on movie stars and all the crud that the big publishers put out.
I used to write for the SUN over here in Canuckistan.Feature writer.
Yet QLuebecor, the umbrealla company tat owns the SUN makes megazillions not on editorial copy but the crud, the
Zeller's ads, the beautifully printed and illustrated throwaways.
If we writers only had half of one per cent of the money they spend
on health news and foot medicine.