Reprint: The Maligned Publisher

It would, I think, be an exaggeration, says "Penguin" in the "Nation," to maintain that publishers are enemies of the human race. Their crimes are enormous, but so is their patience under censure. Byron is credited (incorrectly, I believe), with having asserted that Barabbas was a publisher. It would be nearer the truth to say that Moses was a publisher. For the meekness of most publishers is amazing. Everybody criticises them. Nobody has a good word to say for them; they seldom say a good word for themselves. And when we condescend to tell them how to carry on their business, they admit every defect we point out, and placidly proceed to make large fortunes on the good old lines and in complete disregard of our criticisms. Even the societies that exist to harass them achieve very little in the way of impairing their prosperity. Until recently authors had the great advantage over publishers that they could write novels recounting the iniquities of publishers, and compel publishers to publish them. With the advent of publishers who are also novelists, this is likely to be changed. We have now such ambidexters as Mr Grant Richards and Mr Herbert Jenkins, who can write novels with their right hands while they are busy publishing with their left. Perhaps as actor managers rule the stage, so the day is coming when publisher novelists will be the autocrats of the world of books.

First published in The Argus, 16 December 1916

[Thanks to the National Library of Australia's newspaper digitisation project for this piece.]

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on July 22, 2009 9:12 AM.

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