You, certainly, understand what it’s like when you know for sure, and in your heart of hearts, that there is something rotten in the State of Denmark, but every time you put up your hand to point to the rottenness it is ignored, slapped down, or obfuscated. Lying, back-stabbing, shoving one’s own snout in the trough ahead of the mob, manoeuvring to get ahead, and destroying anything that might get in the way of a march towards the one goal of MONEY – no worries. All’s fair in war and publishing. But think about the larger picture, imagine a better way, work slowly and cautiously towards change? Get with it, baby, you’ve got to be kidding, that’s just feel-good stuff, forget it.
But you, certainly, you who read and love books, who take the time to contemplate something beyond the auto-teller and real-estate prices, you will share with me an uneasiness about the current state of publishing. When the publisher of an imprint such as Harvill can report that the director of his parent company, Harper Collins, ‘has come to feel that there simply is no room in a huge mainstream publishing corporation for the stylish, original, intellectually demanding books that Harvill chooses’, my hand rises in startled reaction, I’m afraid, before it falls back to my mouth which is gaping in horror.