Traditional publishing is experiencing an upswing, but that doesn't mean the quality of print is increasing as well
It was probably a coincidence, but on one Sunday in July, two New York Times luminaries wrote columns complaining about books. Bill Keller, the outgoing executive editor, had a piece in the magazine headlined "Let's Ban Books, or at Least Stop Writing Them." In the Sunday business section, Bryan Burroughs, a regular reviewer and himself the author of multiple bestsellers, took on the preponderance of business books in an essay called "Compelling Tales, Rarely Told Well."
Meanwhile, UNESCO's list of "new titles and editions" of books published in the United States for 2009 totaled 288,355, a number that has doubtless increased since then, as books long out of print are revived in digital versions. BookStats 2011,the annual comprehensive report just released by the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group, concluded that book sales, in terms of revenues and copies sold, have steadily increased in the period of 2008-2010. Overall, the report supports the belief that publishing is on an upswing, contrary to the widely held but incorrect assumption that competition from other forms of media was diminishing the venerable book world. In the press release accompanying the report, Dominique Raccah, CEO of SourceBooks and chair of the committee that did the survey, said: "The BookStats study indicates that the publishing industry is healthy and growing during a time of unprecedented change... Publishers in every sector of our business have made significant investments in content and technology to better serve their audiences' needs and those efforts seem to correlate with the results we're seeing."