Should the Publishing Industry Panic? According to Encyclopedia Britannica, Maybe if it’s 1911

We seem to think the current machinations of the publishing industry are new. But check out the Entry for Publishing in the 1911 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica.   It’s all there:

  • The toil of the educated literary assistant (reader) to the big bad publisher and his internal struggle to recommend good books against what will sell
  • A market flooded with bad books like "crackers at Christmas"
  • The position of authors to sign contracts with less than favorable terms and the representation of an author's guild (Society of Authors)
  • The representation by the literary agent for the poor author who knows nothing about business
  • The introduction of cheap editions (ebooks, anyone?) that undercut the price, profit and royalty of better quality ones
  • The price fixing, net pricing, discount wars and remainders
  • The concern that reading will be supplanted by other pastimes
  • The Book Club Effect and more

If it’s all too much to bear, head over to the Public House (entry to the left).