Andre Schiffrin, the author of The Business of Books (2000), is the founding director of The New Press, a not-for-profit publishing house established in 1990. Before that he was the publisher of Pantheon Books for 30 years. In his new book, Words & Money, Schiffrin examines the state of book publishing newspapers, magazines, broadcast news, and online journalism. We asked Schiffrin to pose questions about the future of book publishing.
Conglomerates now control much of American book publishing including roughly 80 percent of trade books. This kind of ownership typically demands much greater profit margins than do traditional self-contained publishing houses. The rise of Amazon and Google as booksellers and distributors of book content has added bottomline pressures. Have you seen a difference in the content and quality of published books?
The growth of Internet retailing has produced a withering effect on independent bookstores. Does this phenomenon mirror Walmart's obliteration of mom-and-pop stores in downtowns across the country, and is it similarly detrimental to the richness and variety of communities?
Newspaper circulation continues to fall in the United States, as does newspapers' commitment to book coverage. When it comes to book reviews and articles about books...