Sorry, Brian. It's not all about Dave.
I just thought Charles' post (and Al's before that) on the role of
best-selling books in the publishing industry inserted a little light
and air and much-needed perspective into a discussion that far too
often quickly devolves into close-minded conspiracy theories, jealousy
and sour grapes, that's all.
Like it or not, it's the sale of blockbusters and best-sellers that
keeps the wheels of the industry turning. It doesn't mean -- and I'm
not saying -- that those regulars on the best-selling lists, even
those writing for those big, bad New York publishers, are necessarily
"better" writers, but selling diddly-squat copies of a book from a smaller, non-NY-based press is no guarantee of quality either.
What best-selling novelists do is write books lots of people want to
read. What publishers (or at least those without their heads up their
asses) try to do is publish books people want to read. As evil
conspiracies go, it's not exactly the Kennedy assassination.
Authors (or publishers) who deliberately aim for a small, select crowd
and express disdain at the masses shouldn't be dismayed or pissed off
when their books only sell to a small, select crowd and are ignored by
But the real kicker is that the mega-sales of popular crime and
detective novels make possible the publication of (and increase the
market potential for) a lot of more marginal books which are often
held in higher, if sometimes misplaced, esteem, on this list.
Small sales doesn't mean "better books." It just means "small sales."
(he of the world-famous "goateed wrinkled turtle head shot")
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