24 October 2013

A Blatant Commercial Affair

J. Lewis May, John Lane and the Nineties (London: Bodley Head, 1936), p. 118:
It is a pity that publishing, which has now degenerated into a blatant commercial affair  publishers being like rival showmen, each trying to out-shout and out-bid his competitors  could not have remained the thing it was in the early and middle Nineties. I wonder if a publisher who went back to the ways of Mathews and Lane, as they were in those days, would have any chance of surviving. I am told definitely that he would not. I am not so sure. I do not think taste and a sense of proportion, of mesure, are quite dead in the world. The awkward thing is that, from the nature of the case, such a publisher could not get into touch with the pubic he desired by means of advertisement, for they are of the few that do not pay very much attention to advertisement. He would have to go out and find them, even as John Lane did.