Today's Can I Get a Ruling? involves our favorite schizoid industry, which somehow manages to be seen as being in decline while growing at 3%, and where 400,000 books were published in the last year but (seemingly) fewer of them are published by mainstream houses who are (seemingly) focus on a narrowing slate of blockbusters.
My question to you: is this a good time for books?
Garth Hallberg sums up the irony of the industry's current predicament with an insightful breakdown of some of the complaints about publishing and the current "crisis of reading" balanced against the fact that the supposedly money-driven and monolithic publishing industry is comprised of, wouldn't you know, people who love books, including small presses who are more interested in producing beautiful books than becoming billionaires.
So which is it?
Pros: more choice than ever, more opportunities outside mainstream publishing, more possibility for non-mainstream authors to find audiences via the Internet, e-retailing breaking down geographic boundaries for people who before didn't have access to bookstores, online communities to discuss books, insert your own here
Cons: fewer, bigger bestsellers, competition from other media, decline of newspaper book pages, too much choice, fewer authors able to support themselves writing, possible dilution of quality as more books are self-published, insert your own here