Publishing’s Not Dead: The Industry Responds to Garrison Keillor

“With all due respect to a well-published man with a nice voice my parents love (love!) to listen to do fake noir… Why do people keep writing the same boring article about the myth dying? Authors have self-published tracts and manifestos and chapbooks for years. For centuries! And this is a new writing and reading in the Internet age, yes. But decrying without a sense of precedent is false nostalgia. And honestly, now I’ve been a professional in publishing for ten years and this article was out of a date a decade ago. I do want to add my thanks for his gracious words re: editors. I aspire to that role. It breaks my heart that he is declaring us vanished. We have to walk ahead and not fade behind. I can’t imagine a funeral, it’s too tempting and sentimental. The way ahead is to work and read. Also, there’s nothing like commuting on the A train to see so many readers of books and Kindles and iPads. I think if more famous writers took the subway, they’d be heartened.”
Meg Lemke, Acquisitions Editor, Teachers College Press

“I’m not sure if this is something to get riled up about. It’s Keillor couching some nostalgic musings in his affected gee-gosh wistful tone. (Garrison, I don’t care how much irony you bring to it, don’t start sentences with ‘children.’) Let’s not get caught up in nostalgia for RIGHT NOW. Book publishing is going to change, and drastically, but it won’t explode into a million fragmented pieces any more than YouTube has utterly destroyed network television. People still watched the Lost finale in addition to sending around the video of that cat standing up on its hind legs. People will still read the next blockbuster book on the beach or the subway in addition to reading their friends’ blogs. Just as a big-budget TV drama needs support and crew, many great books need the work and care that a publishing house brings. Your uncle’s diatribe on how things should be isn’t going to replace the next Dan Brown anytime soon.”
— Anonymous Random House editorial staffer

“I wasn’t around during the good old times that Keillor writes about in his editorial, so I can’t say if they were better. But I love publishing, and I love books, and after a day spent on the floor at BEA I know I’m not the only one. Maybe today’s authors crave the praise of book bloggers as much as that fateful crowning from the New York Times, and maybe they spend more time on twitter than on typewriters, but that’s not a bad thing.”
&mdash Erica Barmash, Marketing Manager, Harper Perennial

“Publishing takes a lot of work, but at the end of the day, I’m in an industry of story.”
Roseanne Wells, Marianne Strong Literary Agency