There's no simple or singular means of explaining why publications thrive or die. Entertainment Weekly rose and declined with larger waves affecting the entertainment and publishing industries at large, but its story is more than just that of print media at the turn of the century. That might be the environment, but the larger narrative is that of widespread deregulation in terms of media ownership and the resultant flurry of mergers, acquisitions, and conglomerate masterplanning.
The history of the business of EW
posted by psoas
on Jun 11, 2014 -
Look Who Nick Kristof’s Saving Now.
Political scientist Corey Robin
on today's public intellectuals, an "entire economy of unsung writers with PhDs," and what Nicholas Kristof doesn't understand when he writes academics have marginalizes themselves and "just don’t matter in today’s great debates." As Aaron Bady wrote, ”He only reads The New Yorker
, and then complains that everyone doesn’t write for The New Yorker
posted by spamandkimchi
on Feb 16, 2014 -
"People are denied access to research hidden behind paywalls every day. This problem is invisible, but it slows innovation, kills curiosity and harms patients. This is an indictment of the current system. Open Access has given us the solution to this problem by allowing everyone to read and re-use research. We created the Open Access Button
to track the impact of paywalls and help you get access to the research you need. By using the button you’ll help show the impact of this problem, drive awareness of the issue, and help change the system. Furthermore, the Open Access Button has several ways of helping you get access to the research you need right now." [more inside]
posted by daisyk
on Nov 22, 2013 -
...one of the jobs of a publisher, I really believe, is to keep all forms in play, precisely because it is in keeping all forms in play (which forms are themselves always being reshaped in some fashion as they come into contact with each other) -- that creativity has the widest possible purchase on how things might turn out. Eileen Joy
, co-director of open-access quasi-scholarly print-on-demand press Punctum Books
, gives a talk on the state and future of open-access publishing
in the academy and the arts.
posted by shivohum
on Nov 20, 2013 -
Ruby-Strauss learned his craft working for the notorious Judith Regan, in whose shadow all lowbrow publishing still operates. In college at the University of California, Santa Cruz, he had been a comp-lit major who scoffed when friends talked up popular sci-fi books. “I was too pretentious,” he says. “I was reading Camus.” (A far way from that to Tucker Max, I noted. “Is it?” he replied.) Under Regan, he came to appreciate the simpler beauty of “books that sell.” He acquired a book by shock-rock star Marilyn Manson and then a series of pro-wrestling books, still his highest-selling titles ever. He once took Regan to a match, where he remembers her looking around the arena and declaring happily of the crowd, “You could sell them blank pages!”
(SLNewRepublic) [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan
on Oct 23, 2013 -
"Not very many people read. Most of them drag their knuckles around and quarrel and make money. We’re selling books. It’s a tiny little business. It doesn’t have to be Walmartized."
Superagent Andrew Wylie, who represents Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie, Elmore Leonard, and Philip Roth, among others, talks about the future of publishing, his on-again-off-again relationship with Amazon, and "effete, educated snobs who read," with the New Republic.
posted by escabeche
on Oct 7, 2013 -
A history of CLiNT
, Mark Millar’s
attempt at launching a newsstand anthology comic, which ended this month
despite its Lad Mag sensibility, celebrity creators such as Jonathan Ross
and Frankie Boyle, and a recent reboot
. The comic magazine joins the likes of Revolver
in the great newsagents in the sky, though like many of those other short lived UK magazines it has spawned many spin off successes, not least the controversial Kick Ass II, which is now a movie minus its rape scene
posted by Artw
on Aug 21, 2013 -
"Isn’t it time for a women’s publication that puts world news and politics alongside beauty tips? What about a site that takes an introspective look at the celebrity world, while also having a lot of fun covering it? How about a site that offers career advice and book reviews, while also reporting on fashion trends and popular memes?" Bryan Goldberg, the founder of Bleacher Report, raised $6.5 million
to build and grow a feminist website for women, Bustle.com
. [more inside]
posted by meese
on Aug 14, 2013 -
To Steal A Mockingbird
The notoriously private author Harper Lee is now waging a public courtroom battle. Her lawsuit charges that in 2007 her agent, Samuel Pinkus, duped the frail 80-year-old Lee into assigning him the copyright to her only book, To Kill a Mockingbird—then diverted royalties from the beloved 1960 classic. (SLVF
posted by box
on Aug 2, 2013 -
Psychologists recount a valuable lesson about the fragility of statistical validity and the state of publishing.
"Two of the present authors, Matt Motyl and Brian A. Nosek, share interests in political ideology. We were inspired by the fast growing literature on embodiment that demonstrates surprising links between body and mind to investigate embodiment of political extremism. Participants from the political left, right, and center (N = 1,979) completed a perceptual judgment task in which words were presented in different shades of gray. Participants had to click along a gradient representing grays from near black to near white to select a shade that matched the shade of the word. We calculated accuracy: How close to the actual shade did participants get? The results were stunning. Moderates perceived the shades of gray more accurately than extremists on the left and right (p = .01). Our conclusion: Political extremists perceive the world in black and white figuratively and literally. Our design and follow-up analyses ruled out obvious alternative explanations such as time spent on task and a tendency to select extreme responses. Enthused about the result, we identified Psychological Science as our fallback journal after we toured the Science, Nature, and PNAS rejection mills. The ultimate publication, Motyl and Nosek (2012), served as one of Motyl’s signature publications as he finished graduate school and entered the job market.
The story is all true, except for the last sentence; we did not publish the finding." [more inside]
posted by MisantropicPainforest
on Jul 29, 2013 -
"During his days as Harvard’s influential president, Dr. Charles W. Eliot made a frequent assertion: If you were to spend just 15 minutes a day reading the right books, a quantity that could fit on a five-foot shelf, you could give yourself a proper liberal education. Publisher P. F. Collier and Son
loved the idea and asked Eliot to compile and edit the right collection of works. The result: a 51-volume series of classic works from world literature published in 1909 called Dr. Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf
, which would later be called The Harvard Classics
." (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jul 11, 2013 -
This was not the act of a fringe contingent. The letter—which, until now, has never been published in its entirety—is signed by 154 staffers, including J.D. Salinger, Calvin Trillin, John McPhee, Jamaica Kincaid, Saul Steinberg and Janet Malcolm. There are a few notable abstentions, including John Updike and Charles McGrath, who would soon be named Gottlieb's deputy. At the bottom, it reads "cc: S. I. Newhouse." The Letter: Robert Gottlieb's Tenure as the New Yorker's Managing Editor
, Elon Green, The Awl
posted by Rustic Etruscan
on Jul 11, 2013 -
Frank Deford, a 50-year veteran of Sports Illustrated, once labeled Meltzer the most accomplished reporter in sports journalism.
“You could cover the Vatican or State Department,” Deford said recently, “and not do as good a job as Dave Meltzer does on wrestling.”
For nearly 30 years, Dave Meltzer has published the Wrestling Observer Newsletter
, featuring weekly behind the locker room door insight into the business of professional wrestling.
How far reaching has Meltzer's impact been? In one famous incident, Hulk Hogan, frustrated by what he perceived as consistently negative coverage in the publication, burned a copy
of the newsletter during a live Pay-Per-View event.
posted by The Gooch
on May 15, 2013 -
DC Blacklists the Outhouse.
DC has been upset at the comics news site for running satirical articles about them (as well as other publishers), and has informed them that they are revoking access to their creators for interviews, according to Christian "Bluestreak" Hoffer. [more inside]
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me
on May 6, 2013 -
What Is the Business of Literature?
Publishing is a word that, like the book, is almost but not quite a proxy for the “business of literature.” Current accounts of publishing have the industry about as imperiled as the book, and the presumption is that if we lose publishing, we lose good books. Yet what we have right now is a system that produces great literature in spite of itself. We have come to believe that the taste-making, genius-discerning editorial activity attached to the selection, packaging, printing, and distribution of books to retailers is central to the value of literature. We believe it protects us from the shameful indulgence of too many books by insisting on a rigorous, abstemious diet. Critiques of publishing often focus on its corporate or capitalist nature, arguing that the profit motive retards decisions that would otherwise be based on pure literary merit. But capitalism per se and the market forces that both animate and pre-suppose it aren’t the problem. They are, in fact, what brought literature and the author into being. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Apr 27, 2013 -
"I should have known before Night Shade came to me with a deal that things were rotten. Instead, I got an email immediatley upon announcing that I’d inked the deal saying “You know they aren’t paying people, right?” Everything authors knew about the rotten abuse at Night Shade was shared in private. With a few exceptions (Moon and Williams, most notably) no one was talking out loud about what was happening. The SFWA was accomodating and gracious and gave them chance after chance. We should have spoken up. All of us." Kameron Hurley talks about the culture of silence surrounding the problems at Night Shade Books
. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse
on Apr 6, 2013 -
Last August, a book titled "Leapfrogging" hit The Wall Street Journal's list of best-selling business titles upon its debut. The following week, sales of the book, written by first-time author Soren Kaplan, plunged 99% and it fell off the list. [...] But the short moment of glory doesn't always occur by luck alone. In the cases mentioned above, the authors hired a marketing firm that purchased books ahead of publication date, creating a spike in sales that landed titles on the lists.
posted by Chrysostom
on Feb 22, 2013 -
's Hatchet Job of the Year
rewards "the angriest, funniest, most trenchant book review of the past 12 months," with the winning critic taking home a golden hatchet and a year's supply of potted shrimp. 2013's winner
: Camilla Long, for her devastating review
of Rachel Cusk's divorce memoir, Aftermath
. Among other things, she described it as a nasty, bizarre memoir written by a "brittle little dominatrix and peerless narcissist." (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Feb 18, 2013 -