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BRITISH-IRISH-POETS  1998

BRITISH-IRISH-POETS 1998

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Subject:

Pro

From:

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Reply-To:

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Date:

Wed, 21 Jan 1998 16:59:47 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (39 lines)

Marketing books for a mid-size publisher happens to be, presently, my
bread and margarine.  The actualities of market massage are not very
different than variously ornery political instincts might suggest: author
celebrity is to be exploited, external scandal or deliciousness always
helpful to land spots on E! et al., and all publicity is bought; the NYT Book
Review is now working against the inde's for Barnes and Noble, and any
small-chunk review in it--up the spectrum to the Utne Reader etc.--can
be counted on as a barter for advertisement.  Book purchasing, even the
most deflated (corrected?) kind, of course is determined by author
celebrity or at least hope of it, often the hope of conspicuous foresight of
author celebrity-- one of the less ethically upright, though certainly
"human," insinuations of encouragement of unknowns in this and other
communities.  The Book of Demons has been dredged for scandal
external to its content, and if "scandal" implies a morality, let's concede at
the least fallability, the weakness of personal struggle, descent, and
heroism, by which we can get access and understand our poets as we
understand our Funniest Home Video bumblers.  Coddling this instinct by
suggesting its inevitability seems a dull trick to play on behalf of a
sluggish mass, unable really to get at it unless the same four-color,
high-cost poster gives them the clue.  Marketing rules, generally, aim to
cancel the effects and possibilities of surprise.  On the other hand, this
argument has been seen, hasn't it, to go nowhere, and to be an outlet for
some vanity.

Also, Amazon.com is wrecking the business of many medium to small
publishers, and is responsible especially in the university and academic
presses for dwindling non-discounted sales which have turned the
heads of those presses' commissioning editors away from books of
advanced (if not celebrity) scholarship which would never have sold
more than a few hundred copies.  It and other on-line book indices
confirm the assumption of most customers that books are overpriced and
the prices charged by booksellers, especially small and independent
ones, grossly inflated.

Andrea


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