American Authors and the Literary Marketplace Since 1900 by James L. W. West III

By James L. W. West III

This booklet examines literary authorship within the 20th century and covers such issues as publishing, e-book distribution, the exchange editor, the literary agent, the journal industry, subsidiary rights, and the blockbuster mentality.

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The post of editor was created largely to insulate the other departments from authors and their dernancls. Publishers, at the top of tlie hierarchy, gained dignity and stahls by removi~igthenisel\~esfrom the inkstains of the printshop, the blue pencil of the editor, and the cashbox of tlie bookseller. , Walter Hines Page, in his \lolume A Publisher's Confession ( I ~ o s )repeatedly used the word professional to refer to publishers. "It is a personal service that the publisher does for the author," wrotc Page, "ahnost as personal a service as the physician does for his patient, or the l a w ~ e rfor his client.

HisSide $Paradise, in 1920. The book was widely praised (and widely damned) for the picture Fitzgerald had painted of his postwar generation in Arncrica. Dernarld for copies was heavy through the surnnler and fall of 1920, 2nd Scribners could have ordered two or three very large impressions and attempted t o flood bookstores with copies. The firm, however, elected to play safe, apparently fearing that the success of This Side of Paradise was faddish and temporarv and that demand for the book \vould vanish as quickdy as it hacl arisen.

Uid chaps. 9, 10, 16, x i d 19; scc also the cketclic~of the \ d r i o u rnid\vcstcrn housrs In Ch'lrlcs A . Mad~son,Book 1'~iblts~~ii~q iii Ai~zcrica(Ne\v York: McC;r~\v-Hill,19661 and John Tebbcl, A Htstoi:i, $Book I'zihl~sl~it~q iiz t11r C'tilred States, 4 \ols. ( N o \ h r k : Ro\\,kcr. 19-2-81), 8. " 13. ;oi. 9 . ly R. : l>ukc University Press, 19i+),pp. ln'ls l'ress, 1982),cap. pp 5-8 40 1 American Authors and the Literarji Marketplace middle-class citizens in either region. The Far West, in particular, was not nearly well enough settled to support book publishers or bookshops until well into the nventieth century.

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