Dispatches | October 01, 2010

Patrick Lane, in his recent discussion of e-books, provides a number of insights about how the growth of electronic publishing is exposing some rather uncomfortable sacred cows. I was particularly swayed by his argument that we are perhaps using the wrong metrics to measure a work of literature, and that traditional book publishers shouldn’t necessarily be granted special status when it comes to things like quality and value. To quote Patrick:

 The current upheaval in the publishing industry shows how much it is a raw marketplace, where success is driven by market forces over any abstract measures of “quality.”

Many of my favorite writers publish with small presses. And it’s fair to say that some of these authors might have a more difficult time obtaining reviews or winning grants or landing academic jobs or getting past tenure committees than, say, a novelist whose book is being put out by a major New York publisher like Simon & Schuster.

 A novelist like, you know, Snooki.

Michael Kardos is the author of the story collection One Last Good Time, forthcoming in February 2011 from Press 53. He grew up on the Jersey Shore, where he still spends his summers, and is often mistaken for The Situation. His website is michaelkardos.com.