Precious Cargo

Refreshingly Bitter And Twisted Observations On Life's Passing Parade.

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Location: Valley Village, California, United States

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Nicole Richie

The publication of a ghostwritten novel by "celebrity" Nicole Richie is the kind of even guaranteed to infuriate writers, especially writers who can't get admitted to a publishing house's toilet stall, let alone through the editor's door. Miss Snark weighed in.

"Even Miss Snark needs to be reminded that publishing is a business and we ain't in this for our health when she gets all snarky about who deserves a book deal.

The only people who can stop this craziness are readers. Ain't the free market system grand?"

This is a cop-out. Does the free market drive the creation of culture or is taste made top down by the tastemakers? If publishers and media companies only offer crap, people anxious to read a book or see a movie will select some of that crap and buy it. That doesn't prove people want crap.

This argument that people exercise their wants through the market is circular logic and specious.

It's a rationalization offered by the very people who create phony media events and masscult crap like Richie's book.

Yes, there is also a lowest common denominator consumer who's taste is in their ass, thinks Richie is the cat's pajamas and might even think that her book is great and that she actually wrote it. But there are also people out there who are anxious, bored and lonely who take their clues about what to consume from the media who might actually enjoy something better if it was offered and promoted to the extent Richie's book will be.

Richie's book is a totally synthetic product, like a candy bar of the latest children's cereal or this week's fast food fad. It might sell for a brief time while it's kept inflated with promotional gas. Then it's gone and forgotten. In the long run, this kind of book makes less money for a publisher than a good book whose inherent worth will continue to generate modest but continuing revenue from the backlist.


Blogger Miss Snark said...

More and more publishers answer to bean counters who don't give a damn about next year's bottom line, they want to see growth THIS quarter. Can't do it? Next!

This of course despite the fact that the backlist generates 80% of the revenue in any given fiscal year.

Fun isn't it!

9:43 PM  
Blogger Peter L. Winkler said...

Dear Miss Snark:

Sadly, unlike you, I can't resort to throwing back a good stiff drink, for health reasons. I take a few deep breaths and resign myself to it all.

Thanks for dropping by. Please visit and comment anytime.

2:05 PM  

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