2019-03-22 18:13:37
Marketing isn’t everything books/market data/news

In Era of Blockbuster Books, One Publisher Rolls the Dice – WSJ.com:

Mr. Sterling says he agrees that book publishing, for all its planning, remains a roll of the dice. “I still marvel that despite everything we do, we just don’t know,” he says. “It’s the wonderful thing and the agonizing thing about the business.” On Sept. 20, when the bad news about Mr. Rubenfeld’s book was coming over the transom, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez gave a speech to the United Nations. He held up a copy of Noam Chomsky’s “Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance” and praised the book, which shot up the Amazon best-seller list, prompting the printing of an additional 50,000 copies to meet demand. Mr. Chomsky’s publisher: Henry Holt & Co.

and some replies to the article

I’ve been hearing the “publishing is becoming a winner-take-all sweepstakes” riff since I started working in the industry. It’s not true, and it’s not becoming true. I suspect it’s generated by lazy news departments that can’t be bothered to take notice of books that aren’t blockbusters, and from this conclude that blockbusters are all that matters in publishing.

Bestsellers aren’t the whole of publishing. Every year, we publish a great many okaysellers. You guys buy them because they look interesting, or because a friend has recommended them, or because you liked another book by that author. Marketing push only goes so far.

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