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Publishers Weekly for sale

pw cover

Here’s your chance to prove your commitment to print. Purchase (the increasingly pointless) Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, or School Library Journal, all of which are on the block. Pay no mind to the fact that the information these magazines contain is now largely available on the internet.

Details at publishersweekly.com.

“In a related announcement, Tad Smith, CEO of RBI US, has resigned.”


The year’s best magazine covers

According to the Magazine Publishers of America’s 2007 American Magazine Conference Awards, that is. This Texas Monthly cover won for “best coverline.”

texas monthly magazine cover

Journalistic ethics and Publishers Weekly

Ed Champion excoriates Karen Holt for writing in Publishers Weekly that includes passages such as this:

There was the time at BEA when I wanted to ask Margaret Atwood a few questions so she took my arm and steered me toward some chairs in the corner (”Margaret Atwood is touching me!”). There was my trip to Maine last summer to interview Richard Ford when he and his wife put me up for the night in their guest cottage (”I’m staying in Richard Ford’s guest house!”). There was the night I capped off an interview with Gay Talese by joining him for dinner at Elaine’s (A double shot of literary New York icons).

“When a journalist conducts an author interview or writes a profile, a journalist has the duty to maintain some sense of independent authority, which will permit her to ask hard-hitting, challenging and thought-provoking questions. One must ask questions that nobody else asks. One must practice journalism,” Champion insists. “Karen Holt has, with one simple sentence, revealed that Publishers Weekly has little concern for journalistic ethics. Her stay at Ford’s home is not unlike some of the egregious influence peddling that studios use to buy the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s votes for the Golden Globes…. I think it goes without saying that staying at the guest cottage of your subject’s house is highly suspect and deeply unethical.”

I have to confess I felt a little foolish reading this, because it had never quite occurred to me to think of these pieces as journalism, exactly — I thought of them as a form of publicity and marketing. PW has always been a chummy publication, serving a chummy industry. Maybe that’s a factor contributing to book publishing’s recent difficulties. Champion makes us imagine the possibility of things being different.

Academic Journals Endangered?

Dani Rodrik cites a new paper by Glenn Ellison that appears to show that top academics are publishing fewer scholarly papers in specialized and general interest journals. These writers, like many others, have discovered that on-line publishing is an easier means to reach a larger audience more quickly than print publication.

The interesting aspect of this is that it is truest of the authors with the most prestigious affiliations. Such authors do not need the validation of print. In this context, the trend is for print publication to function increasingly as a farm system for the second-tier authors.

Are we seeing a similar phenomenon in the literary world?

IN RELATED NEWS: Academic book publishing on the decline.

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