Joho the Blog » The more things (books) change…

The more things (books) change…

Not many years ago ex-Governor Alfred E. Smith complained that his autobiography, Up to Now, was not being promoted vigorously enough. “But, Governor,” remonstrated his publishers, “we planted your book in every bookstore in the country.” “Bookstores,” snorted the Governor, unconsciously summing up every publisher’s grievance for the past five generations. “Who in hell goes to bookstores?”

From Try and Stop Me, by Bennett Cerf, 1944. (Simon & Schuster, p. 107)

5 Responses to “The more things (books) change…”

  1. Meaning of course that he, Alfred E. Smith, never went to bookstores.

    Also that he, Alfred E. Smith, felt that his life was a lot more interesting than everyone else did!

    But of course in 1944 there was no Oprah Book Club or Stephen Colbert interview to help promote the sale of a book.

    A friend who has published three books in the last year told me that most books published sell fewer than 1,000 copies.

    So the publishers are less interested in the content of the book, and more interested in the network of the author.

    Do you have a facebook page with 10,00 friends? You then become a good publishing risk.

  2. There are few treats as sumptuous as a visit to Rizzoli. Every time I walk in, I get the distinct feeling that I could happily stay forever in that oak-walled oasis on 57th Street. And I’m not the only one who feels this way; everyone in New York City speaks about Rizzoli with a particular reverence. It is a strangely nostalgic reverence—a nostalgia for something wonderful from a fine bygone era, something that no longer exists anywhere else.”
    —Lesley M. M. Blume, author

  3. The Scribner bookstore on Fifth Avenue was like that, but it is now gone. I think it was there since the late 1800s, but perhaps only the early twentieth century. By comparison, the Rizzoli is a newcomer! (but it has the advantage of still being there).

  4. The U.S. has approved Genetically Modified Alfalfa.

  5. Joho the Blog » The more things (books) change……

    Joho the Blog » The more things (books) change……

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