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Re: Readin', wRitin', and Radio (yak)--reply
- To: BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU
- Subject: Re: Readin', wRitin', and Radio (yak)--reply
- From: Art Rubino <Art_Rubino@MSN.COM>
- Date: Thu, 22 May 1997 06:32:16 UT
- Message-Id: <199705220724.AAA40505@SUL-Server-2.Stanford.EDU>
- Sender: "The Book Arts: binding, typography, collecting" <BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU>
What were the financials on your deal? Why was it sold? In many cases, a
'good' company is sold only if it can not make it on it's own any more.
Management goes out, finds a buyer, tells a tale of woe, makes certain
promises for future performance, gets out from under. Is it therefore really
'good' ? Most buyers are not foolish, but most buyers are not charities
either. Big is not always bad. This is why things like the National Endowment
for the Arts are so important, to finance 'good' projects that can not make it
on their own. Even then, you have to build a case for a grant, and you have to
deliver, and the judgement of what is 'good' is often not obvious.
From: The Book Arts: binding, typography, collecting on behalf of Seko Julia
Sent: Wednesday, May 21, 1997 20:01
Subject: Re: Readin', wRitin', and Radio (yak)--reply
> With this statement I must disagree. Fiscal constraints have *always*
> guided the publishing industry, from the smallest cottage press or
> individual to the largest international conglomerate.
This is true, but many publishing houses have accepted a lower profit
margin than the large conglomerates are willing to accept. I worked for a
scholarly publisher that was acquired by a large media conglomerate; we
were told that we had to make increase our profit margin by a certain
amount every year OR ELSE. Another small house that didn't make it was
gutted and its list shipped off to another publisher. My company was
eventually put up for sale after they had fired 40 % of the staff and
driven off the entire senior acquisitions staff. The problem, I believe,
is probably more ignorance that just basic greed. A company that owns a
bunch of cable networks and lurid newspapers isn't going to know how to
run a publishing house, much less know what to expect from it.
Please excuse my ranting, but small good houses are being bought up and
destroyed by big corporations and it's going to result in a lot of
important books not getting made.
BTW, I do agree that the loss of independent booksellers is also a piece
of the same puzzle.