paper trail

Dec 6, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

Rachel Dewoskin

At HTMLGIANT Roxane Gay bemoans the lack of diversity in this year’s Best American Short Stories, writing "segregation is alive and well when it comes to what we read," and challenges readers to name five black, Asian, and Latino authors. The Rumpus responds. The Economist, apparently unconcerned with the idea of gender balance, has blithely posted its best books of the year list, with no women authors in the fiction or poetry categories (a remarkable oversight in a year when books like Room, A Visit From the Goon Squad, Inferno, Nox, et al., were published) and with women making up only ten percent of authors overall.

Do editors edit? Do small publishers care more about books than big publishers do? How accurate are bestseller lists? Longtime industry observer J. E. Fishman examines some common “misconceptions about book publishing.” The most frightening is his assertion that e-books will not save book publishers much money, because it is not books' physical characteristics (paper, binding, etc.) that cost so much, but the people who make them. Solution? Cut salaries and outsource the publishing biz, or else "find a really rich guy who's bored with his sports team."

Meanwhile, Cursor mastermind Richard Nash, who's often heralded as the publishing industry's future savior, has declared that a coherent sense of the “publishing world” doesn’t even exist. “The data about the book business is poor because there is no such thing as the book business.”

Tonight the stellar FSG Reading Series brings the deeply funny (and dark) authors Paul Murray (Skippy Dies) and Rachel DeWoskin (Big Girl Small) to the Russian Samovar.