Cultural Revolutions

No More Books

This is strange to say, but observation bears it out: Almost all publishers and most booksellers and librarians neither know nor care anything about books.

Publishers don’t have a clue as to what is a good book or even a good-selling book.  Whenever you run across a book by a new author that is a popular and/or critical success, you find that it was turned down by 20 publishers before it saw the light of day.  On the other hand, there must be hundreds of thousands of unsold books remaindered or pulped every year that publishers produced with big printings and big hype.

Academic presses are the worst of all.  Nearly everything published by the major academic presses these days is a nonbook—a reality- and culture-challenged useless mess of discussion of some previous useless mess of discussion—guaranteed to be unreadable and unread.  This is made certain by the standard procedure of sending out manuscripts for review by the current fashionable “experts” in the subject area.  The reviews are without exception predictable, hackneyed, and lacking in any real judgment.  Even worse, reviewers often hint that the work could be published—if everything original and worthwhile is taken out and it is altered to agree with the interpretation that the “experts” have already established as the acceptable view.

Booksellers and librarians, at least those at the levels of...

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