4 thoughts on “Are There Too Many Books?

  1. As with any conversation the question is where is the money in it? Publishers and buyers are locked in this spiral. Paper publishing should not try to compete with online publishing and dialogue. There should be a different and distinguishable standard. Paper is the best technology currently available to hold knowledge over a century or more (depending on quality and use). as its to last a century or more it should be worth reading. One of the difficulties would publishers cash flow. Another would be market tastes and perceptions.
    Imagine if I dug up a large tome of vellum with a jewelled leather cover from a thousand years ago and it turned out to be the worst drivel ever spewed onto pages? What would be my opinion of the people who made and used this book?
    Yes there are too many books imho. People rely on other people to tell them what to read as it is impossible to cover a book genre output themselves. Always a poor position for the person with the reliance. The difficulty starts with what books should there be? Wars have been fought over less.

    • Market tastes and perceptions are dependent on many factors, including the quality of the writing, the daring of the writing, the quality of education, audience, and the very methods of book promotion and publication in other words, a reflection of a culture in general. A culture of promotion will create books as social objects, but not of any endurance. A culture of workshopping will create books as social objects, but not of any endurance. A culture of centralized publishing will create books as social objects, but not of any endurance. Perhaps the books that last will be ones that appeal to statistical minorities outside of the radar of contemporary statistical society? Or ones that meet it head on? I don’t know, but my gut feeling is that the books that will endure will not be created along the same lines as those that don’t. I like your analogy of the vellum book. Very nicely said.

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