Suspend Your Disbelief

Shop Talk |

Get totally depressed! Then get your hope on.

The book industry–hell, literature itself–is in jeopardy, and even some of the most avid readers are getting blamed.

This has been a very traumatic season for publishing…even highly successful celebrity editors have been laid off from houses big and small, and some publishers aren’t signing any new books. It’s clear we need to think about change at every level of the industry; as publishers, booksellers, journalists, and authors raise the alarm, will we find creative ways to fight the fire or curl up on the floor of a burning house?

Read how we might learn to publish without perishing, why there’s a glimmer of hope for booksellers, and why, while the forms and genres we read in may change, the book will endure.

An excerpt from James Gleick:

Publishers may or may not figure out how to make money again (it was never a good way to get rich), but their product has a chance for new life: as a physical object, and as an idea, and as a set of literary forms.

As a technology, the book is like a hammer. That is to say, it is perfect: a tool ideally suited to its task. Hammers can be tweaked and varied but will never go obsolete. Even when builders pound nails by the thousand with pneumatic nail guns, every household needs a hammer. Likewise, the bicycle is alive and well. It was invented in a world without automobiles, and for speed and range it was quickly surpassed by motorcycles and all kinds of powered scooters. But there is nothing quaint about bicycles. They outsell cars.

Literary Partners