Why aren’t people buying much fiction these days? « Khabarhub
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Why aren’t people buying much fiction these days?

04 February 2019  

Time taken to read : 3 Minute

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Ask any publisher or bookseller, and they’ll tell you,” People aren’t buying novels these days.” It’s not a new phenomenon. Fiction sales have waxed and waned over the decades. When they plummeted over 100 years ago, in 1914, one article in The Times speculated that “the diminutive size of the typical modern apartment, frequent removals, the growing popularity of hotel life, the attractions of golf playing, motoring and ‘the movies’” had all led to decreased sales. The paper decided that publishers needed to bring out fewer titles: “Why do everything in your power to boost a new book, only to crowd it out a week or a month later with one in which you have no more confidence? This is not the method of the makers of biscuits and chewing gums.”

A second 1914 article suggested that the popularity of tango dancing was interfering with reading time; still another blamed good weather. “If they are having a good time in the fresh air, which the advocates of eugenics tell them is better for them than reading books, it is very difficult to get them back to books,” a publisher lamented to The Times.
Publishers today acknowledge that people are reading less fiction, but say that they’re compensating by buying more nonfiction, especially political nonfiction. “If publishers are being honest, they’ve underestimated the appetite for books on or about or peripherally connected to Trump,” says a Knopf executive, Paul Bogaards. “The question is: When will that appetite wane? In terms of fiction, there simply hasn’t been that outlier blockbuster that everyone is talking about.

Does it spell the end of literature? No. It’s simply a pause until the next surprise comes along.”
A recent article in the industry’s leading trade publication, Publishers Weekly, “What’s the Matter With Fiction Sales?,” thought that the problem might be the result of a combination of things, including fewer physical bookstores (since fiction readers like to browse before they buy) and diminished media coverage. In addition, the magazine noted, “Publishers have found breaking out new writers — never mind developing new franchise authors — increasingly difficult.”


Publish Date : 04 February 2019 10:54 AM

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