Friday, 5 December 2014

Book Marks: African Stories, Blockbustering

"My close friend Mercy, when she heard about my novel, congratulated me: I had found out 'what the white people wanted to read and given it to them.'," wrote author Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani in The New York Times. Or, why white people might not be the best judges of what good African stories are.

Are publishers blockbustering themselves into oblivion? Seems that way:

What they are looking for are bestsellers, which tend to be particularly narrow kinds of books. Most of the gargantuan advances that have made headlines in the U.S. recently are for science-fiction and fantasy books. Every publisher is looking for exactly the same book – basically, they are looking for The Hunger Games again and again. When they say "quality," they mean "mass appeal."

How the Strand bookstore keeps going in the age of Amazon.

...the Strand is, when you get down to it, a real-estate business, fronted by a bookstore subsidized by its own below-market lease and the office tenants upstairs. The ground floor of 828 Broadway is worth more as a Trader Joe’s than it is selling Tom Wolfe. When a business continues to exist mostly because its owners like it, the next generation has to like it just as much. Otherwise they’ll cash out.

Yup, simple as that.



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