Mass-Market Fiction: Love To Hate It

I confess I am a total book snob.  If you have The Da Vinci Code or anything written by Mary Higgins Clark listed as your favorite books on Facebook, it’s a total deal breaker. However, lately I’ve got to thinking about mass-market fiction and it’s place in the publishing world and I’ve come to realize it is one of importance. 

I recently read a blog by Assistant Professor of English Anne Trubek that maintained Publishers Should Start Using Birth Control, which argued that publishers should concentrate more on creating quality literature, thereby publishing fewer titles, than whipping out hundreds of titles a year for the sheer profitability. While I completely agree with the concept, it is altogether hopeless and highly idealized.  Ms. Trubek is forgetting that, sadly, not all of us are English majors and not everyone can appreciate the quality of great literature.  In other words, she is forgetting the average reader does not go home to curl up with Ulysess or The Sound and the Fury. In order for a publisher to be successful they must publish many books that they hope can become bestsellers in order to publish the few gems that not everyone will buy, but more often than not turn into those Pulitzer winners.

So keep reading your Mary Higgins Clark and Dan Brown novels.  This way, I can rest assured publishers are making enough revenue to take a chance on those great pieces of literature not many will buy in the first year or two, but will inevitably fall into the hands of those who can appreciate it.

I am completely aware my opinion comes across as arrogant, but as I confessed earlier, I am a total book snob.

For those of you who still defend the quality of mass markets I suggest you read this guy’s blog.

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