Three Percent reports on the latest “carnival-like approach to publishing” from Penguin, Amazon, and Hewlett Packard, the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Instead of publishing really good books that have already been written, maybe it’s a good idea to accept submissions of mediocre books online, build up a bunch of hype, and let the public go into marketing overload. You’ve got yourself a another temporarily cool bestseller right there. Ed Champion points out the ethically gray areas of this endeavor.
Publishing is such a divided industry. On the one hand, we are in business (a rather limping business at the moment) and need to make money. On the other hand, the nature of our business is to care about literature, ideas, and stories. Once again, artistic idealism collides with the bottom line, and it makes us all kind of cranky.