Your weekend longread via Vanity Fair – let’s talk about publishing

Image via Vanity Fair.

In my professional life I spend lots of time thinking about things like print vs. digital pricing and the survival of traditional publishing models. If you’re a writer or a reader, you’ll want to check out Keith Gessen’s excellent piece in Vanity Fair about Amazon, ebooks, publishers, and what it all means for our literary future.

A sample nugget from Gessen’s article. The article’s author is speaking to his literary agent:

Losing the fight over margins would be an immediate blow to the publishers’ profits, but losing control over pricing could be fatal. “If Amazon succeeds,” said Wylie, “they will lower the retail price—$9.99, $6.99, $3.99, $1.99. And instead of making $4 on your hardcover, you’ll be making 10 cents a copy on all editions. And, Keith, you will not be able to afford to write a book.… No one, unless they have inherited $50 million, will be able to afford to write a serious work of history, of poetry, of biography, a novel—anything. The stakes are Western culture.”

Western culture I could take or leave, but the part about me sent a chill down my spine.

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