But really it says everything that’s wrong about the publishing industry

But really it says everything that’s wrong about the publishing industry, that a quarter of a million people bought and read a sex and shopping novel that wasn’t even written by one of those footballer girlfriends, and yet most of the shortlisted titles on the Orange Prize, which is an award for women writers, don’t even sell ten thousand copies. It’s just not right.

Sarra Manning

13 thoughts on “But really it says everything that’s wrong about the publishing industry”

  1. With all due respect to Ms. Manning, one must ask the question of whether or not the shortlisted titles for the “Orange Prize” are any less cliched and shallow than the “sex and shopping” novel she decries.

  2. Just for fun, I hit a couple of websites and crunched a few numbers…

    Adult population, USA, 2020: ~252 million.
    Adult literacy rate (defined as 8th grade level or above), USA, 2020: ~ 48%.
    Potential buyers of any one book, therefore, USA, 2020: ~ 121 million.
    Percentage actually buying your book, even at that blowout 250 thousand: ~0.2%.

    Reality, meet Sarra. Sarra, meet reality. No matter what you write, a minimum of 99.8% of the literate population just… doesn’t… care.

  3. Yes, what the mass audience really wants in its fiction is some thinly disguised memoir/precious coming of age in the 1990s story. Or whatever it is that gets nominated for these sort of awards.

  4. This doesn’t “say” anything about the publishing industry. It may say things about the reading public. Quite why anyone should be surprised that popular fiction would be more popular that literary fiction says something else about commentators on the business.

    What book are we talking about anyway?

  5. “The publishing industry” includes The Oxford Press, The Princeton Press, Randy Penguin, Harlequin, MTV Books, (publisher of The Heroin Diaries and The Heroine Diaries – Ten Year Anniversary Edition) and organizations that publish even better books or worse trash.

    If you want to be accurate so your stereotypes work a little better, you’ll need to add some additional adjectives to “the publishing industry.”

    PG uses “Big Publishing” to describe the largest US commercial publishers which are all headquartered in New York City and owned, with one exception, by giant non-US conglomerates that don’t give a fig for literature and for which, publishing is far down the list of income sources.

    The one exception to non-US conglomerate ownership is Simon & Schuster which is owned by CBS, the television network that brings/brought you icons of culture and sophistication like Jeopardy, The Flintstones, The Jetsons and Wheel of Fortune.

  6. Sounds like she is including consumers in the publishing industry. Not enough consumers prefer her Orange Prize books. Who cares?

    I don’t even know what the Orange Prize is.

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