There are many positive things to say about eReaders and eBooks. There are many negative things to say about ePublishing. I do prefer gatekeepers and I do see a fall in standards. I am concerned that, if a novice is confronted with an array of mediocrity, then the less-mediocre will take on the cachet of being well-done.
I am confronted with that aspect already with commercial TV programs. Readers of a previous century were confronted with Penny Dreadfuls. I think we need traditional publishers to keep serious (and seriously written) books in the forefront.
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Book industry’s death is greatly exaggerated
by Keith J. Kelly
Book publishing may be an industry under siege, but you could not tell that from the Javits Convention Center, where the annual Book Expo America extravaganza got underway in earnest yesterday.
“I’ve been coming to this thing for 25 years, and this is the most crowded first day I can remember,” said David Rosenthal, head of Penguin’s Blue Rider Press imprint, which recently published Mets pitcher R. A. Dickey’s memoir “Wherever I Wind Up” and plans to publish Neil Young’s memoir “Waging Heavy Peace” in October.
Rosenthal said he felt crowds were attracted by brand-name authors who showed up. Young was going to be on a panel this morning with punk rocker Patti Smith.
The Expo is not open to the public, but publishers use it to drum up interest in their upcoming fall and winter books.
“Our booth has been completely packed since we opened,” said Michael Pietsch, publisher of Little, Brown and Co. at Hachette Books Group, which last year won the auction to publish the first-ever adult novel from “Harry Potter” author J. K. Rowling.
The book, “The Casual Vacancy,” is set in rural England and centers around the secrets that begin to emerge when a local councilman dies and creates a vacancy on the council.
Pietsch said he has cranked up the first printing for the book to 2 million copies. While the book will contain no magic or wizardry, it will borrow one page from the Potter marketing strategy, with a one-day national on-sale date, Sept. 27, amid a huge publicity blitz.
One of the longest lines at the Expo was to meet Daniel Handler, author of “Who Could That Be at This Hour,” the first installment of the latest Lemony Snickett series, “All the Wrong Questions.” The book is due out on Oct. 23.
There were a few more parties than there were during some of the worst years of the recession. Penguin staged its at the famed Algonquin Hotel, and Knopf/Doubleday was going to Cognac on Broadway yesterday. Harper Collins was heading downtown to The Park on lower Tenth Avenue