...don't even ignore 'em.
-- Samuel Goldwyn

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Big-time book making.

Thanks to the Opal Mehta plagiarism flap, now in progress, many of us will get our first look at the book packaging business. The media spotlight flashed over 17th Street Productions (their Web server's very busy today), like, the Desilu of this book, on its way to the supposed lone culprit, that solitary artisan, the writer. The Harvard Independent's doubling back today to take a closer look at the company that has made Kaavya Viswanathan a household name, and at the book packaging industry.

“A packager basically serves as both the writer and editor of a book. [...] The advantage for a publishing house is they don’t have to do anything — they don’t have to design the book, they don’t have to think about a concept…. They can just say, ‘Here’s $80,000 for twelve of these books.’ They don’t have to do any of the work.”
-- Lizzie Skurnick, former 17th Street editor,
interviewed in the Harvard Independent article
Which raises this question about today's book publishing business: in light of the James Frey hassle, and now this, if they don't fact-check, don't prevent plagiarism, don't even catch all typos, what exactly is it that the great book publishers do?

Thanks for the links, MediaBistro's Galley Cat blog, and Google.

1 comment:

Lynne W. Scanlon said...

When I worked at AdWeek, Wally Lawrence, the art director/marketing wizard, told me that if I ever heard myself say "I assume" that I should immediately put on the brakes and doublecheck everything. Great advice. "Assume nothing" should be every editor's mantra.