Friday, January 27, 2006

A sterling suggestion ...

... from Steve Clackson at Sand Storm: Talk up your blog favorites. Actually, Steve is on a roll, linking to Falling out of print is a book's natural fate at Boing Boing, and alerting us to the Grumpy Old Bookman in paperback.

Postscript: In 1997, I wrote a piece about how the internet was revolutionizing the used-book business. In it I cited a figure from Interloc -- the predecessor, I believe, of Alibris -- indicating that 99 percent of all the books in the world are out of print.
That says something, obviously, about the economics of publishing. But the publishing industry is to a large extent its own worst enemy -- as is the newspaper industry. The preoccupation of both with the legendary bottom line reminds one of nothing so much as a couple of bespectacled wimps trying to show the world how tough they are. "We're hard-nosed business guys, out to make a profit just like everybody else," they growl to all and sundry. Well, I have news for them:They're not in the business of making money. I read something once -- I don't remember what or where -- to the effect that money is only a by-product of business. It's what comes of manufacturing a product or providing a service that people want badly enough to pay for in sufficient quantity to make said manufacture or production a going venture. If the publishing industry and the newspaper business devoted their energies to putting out first-class products, they'd have plenty of customers and would make plenty of money.

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