A reader writes:

You wrote:

"If any industry deserves to go under, it's the publishing industry."

Really? With all those industries out there that have contributed to bringing the U.S. economy to its knees, you can't think of any that deserve to go under more than publishing? Your gross exaggerations are seriously unbecoming. Plenty of broken models in the industry, no doubt, but dismissing the entire business thus is crude and lazy, and unhelpfully dismissive of the enormous talent and innovative thinkers out there. Of course many corporate higher-ups are stuck in past models-- just as the music and movie business are-- to the endless frustration of many of us. No coincidence then, that it's the smaller publishers that seem to be claiming more successes even through these challenging economic times-- and thank god I work for one of them now.

While I sometimes feel regret that I missed the heyday of publishing, I've seen a lot of good books published well in recent years, and great people sweating blood and tears to promote them, so I will freely admit to having a short fuse for the wholesale griping that goes on about the evil publishing empire. Over the years, more often than not, the gripers I've run across are people who haven't been able to get projects published, hold their work in undiscerningly high esteem, have overweening expectations of the industry, and can't do the most basic groundwork to get informed about the business. This most surely does not describe you or many another talented writer out there with criticisms, nor is it meant to be a blanket defense of an industry that I do indeed share many frustrations with. I just wish the conversation could be one of engagement rather than potshots a la AIG. But people do so love their easy targets.

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