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July 21, 2008



Jonathan Karp is one of the smartest people in publshing (as well as one of our best musical theater lyricists) and he's totally right.

I love the opening about publishing people never using the word "mulched" for sensitive authors too afraid to question what happens to all their unsold books.

As for me, I am thrilled that over 2,000 copies of my 1979 short story collection "With Hitler in New York" have provided much pleasure to gardeners and landscapers all over Long Island. When I see an azalea in Amityville, a sycamore in Syosset, or a gladiola in Great Neck, I am proud to think that I might have, in my small way, contributed to the beauty of America.

In that way a writer can make the greatest aesthetic contribution to our society.


Does it follow that in an allegedly "creative" business that bigger is really better? Has the consolidation of the publishing industry run by big international conglomerates resulted in more compelling content and increased readership? With independent bookstores mostly fallen over the cliff, have all these gargantuan changes resulted in a better or worse intellectual climate? Some things to think about.


Rather than "how can the publishing industry survive", my question is "should it"? All indicators of technology and social networking trends indicate that bigtime publishing as it exists is likely to go the way of the independent bookstores they helped to bury (and as a former independent bookseller, I won't be crying at their funeral).

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