Garrison Keillor: ‘Publishing Is about to Slide into the Sea’

Following a speech at the Authors Guild gala this week, author Garrison Keillor declared: “I think that book publishing is about to slide into the sea.” In a NY Times op-ed, the author proceeded to outline the industry’s problems and poke fun at self published authors.

Here’s an excerpt: “And if you want to write, you just write and publish yourself. No need to ask permission, just open a Web site. And if you want to write a book, you just write it, send it to or BookSurge at Amazon or PubIt or ExLibris and you’ve got yourself an e-book. No problem. And that is the future of publishing: 18 million authors in America, each with an average of 14 readers, eight of whom are blood relatives. Average annual earnings: $1.75.”

Flavorwire collected responses from various publishing folk, including this GalleyCat editor. Blogger Maud Newton had this response: “It is not only possible, but increasingly common, for people to read the New York Times on the smartphones Keillor disdains. Nicholson Baker, who fought so hard against the destruction of libraries’ print collections, reads books on his iPhone. Toni Morrison has a Kindle. Reading novels, she has said, is like entering another world; once they’re lost in the story, many readers don’t care whether the delivery mechanism is a piece of paper or a screen.”