The New Yorker's Ian Crouch
is struck forcefully by how quickly royal engagement books have been
appearing. The first, he marvels, was "sent to print by HarperCollins
just three days after the news broke." What is driving this insanity?
Crouch is particularly perplexed by the statement of HarperCollins's
senior non-fiction editor when explaining the speed:
Newspapers and magazines have been doing it for centuries--but if book publishers are going to remain relevant we have to be able to respond in the same way, and give consumers what they want when they want it.WHY THIS MAY NOT EVEN MAKE SENSE FROM A BUSINESS STANDPOINT
Giving the customer what they want is a reasonable goal for any business. But what customers are we talking about here? And is this what they, or anyone, even want? Books are not simply "content delivery devices," useful only to fork information onto an ever growing pile. Perhaps this speed-first idea of publishing says less about what all books need to do, but rather, is a tacit acknowledgment of the disposable quality of this kind of quick-hit moneymaker. Regardless, we should worry about more than just the bottom line if securing future for publishing means mastering the fast and furious con job of the "media cycle."