Publishing pitfalls 2

January 23, 2004

A youthful Laurie Taylor or similar figure hoping to make their reputation by publishing today would find it considerably harder than in the 1960s. The research assessment exercise has led to a lot more texts and more competition. The rise of mass marketing means that "serious" material, without perceived "popular" appeal, is likely to languish unpromoted on shelves, if it gets into print at all.

One might argue that the worthwhile text will still find a way to get into print, but I fear that if a lengthy book about an "unsexy" subject, say E. P. Thompson's Making of the English Working Class , were offered to publishers today, rather than 40 years ago, it would struggle to see the light of day.

Keith Flett
London Socialist Historians Group

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