Institutional Purge in the Publishing Industry
‘Large houses, narrow purview’ is how one might describe all those giants in the publishing industry who decide what is fit for citizens to read. While it’s easy to moan at the sheer volume of mass-market, low-grade entertainment that lines the shelves of our bookstores, that phenomenon, in an age of globalised titillation, is no more than an occupational hazard, at least for the kind of reader seeking a serious and informed literature. But do our brand-name litterateurs really deliver a serious and informed literature, or are they merely the hand tools of purely commercial entities for whom publishing is nothing more than just another remunerative activity?
Mine, centrehousepress.co.uk, is a small, privately run concern that crosses paths with a good many highly skilled authors with something genuine to say. In most cases, they haven’t been puffed up by the Booker and other commodifying prizes. In some cases, they once were the ‘property’ of mainstream publishing houses, but for one reason or another have been abandoned by that system.
Does this mean that free and open debate on the kind of world we live in has, at an institutional level, been driven from the pages of our books, or that it’s simply some Darwinian principle at work when gifted intelligent writers can’t find a publisher, other than small and powerless ones like me?