I get more and more annoyed at these pontificators. Will Self is notorious for standing at the corner of Publishers’ Row shouting “The end (of the novel) is nigh”. Here’s a Guardian reference. There’s even a Wikipedia page for “The Death of the Novel”. I suspect many of the people referenced there wish they’d bitten their tongue.

Andrew Wylie joins the horde in a comment on the Amazon/Hachette negotiations: “It’s very clear to me, and to those I represent, that what Amazon is doing is very detrimental to the publishing industry and the interests of authors. If Amazon is not stopped, we are facing the end of literary culture in America.”

Who does he think he is? Well of course we all know that he’s a successful and well-respected literary agent, and as such no doubt quite right to regard himself as part of literary culture. If he had used slightly different phraseology, saying “It’s very clear to me, and to those I represent, that what Amazon is doing is detrimental to some authors, especially those I represent. If Amazon is not stopped, we are facing a changed book industry” I wouldn’t have had an issue with that, but then of course nobody would have heard as it’s so boringly obvious. “The end of literary culture in America?” Really? People will stop writing when some better medium for story telling and information exchange comes along, and the novel will “die” when a better format evolves. When either of these things happens it will be cause for celebration, not maudlin regret.

 

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