A blog from Tonto Books, featuring musings from the publishing world and some occasional special guest appearances.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

State of independents

There's an interesting post on the Guardian's blog, Why writers can't go it alone by David Barnett, which sums up some of the gripes we have regarding the book industry.

'Flying the flag of independence is a mark of respect in most areas of popular culture ... apart, it seems, from literature,' Barnett writes. Why are independent cinema and independent record labels celebrated, while independent book publishers are shunned? As Barnett says, 'Can you imagine any serious film reviewer refusing to watch anything other than the major Hollywood blockbusters?'

The fact is that book reviewers at national newspapers and book buyers at national book chains tend to equate 'independent' with 'crap'. At least one major UK bookseller is in the process of severing ties with independent publishers. That's a kick in the nuts for the publishers, their authors, and - ultimately - readers, who are seeing bookshops turn into literary versions of multiplex cinemas, with a small range of lowest common denominator-pleasing tosh piled high and wide.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - let's board this whole industry up like an old abandoned mine and start a-bloody-gain.


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