read: 22 September 2002
A lot of books about books tend to trot out a lot of the same tired quotations and anecdotes about the industry, and book readers and writers. This book presented something fresh. First, it’s contrarian. The first thing Hamilton wants you to know is that just about nobody makes money writing books. That said, he discusses the marketing and publishing [and self-publishing] industries, talks about how they work and the weird quirks and personalities involed in them. My favorite chapter involved going behind the doors of the Library of Congress where highly trained staff determine which books make it inside and which don’t. Hamilton also despairs about the 10 year backlog of cataloging the LoC has yet to do. In general, Hamilton himself loves books but may or may not love the book industry, writers, and even sometimes readers. The book is wonderfully researched, humorously written, and will have at least one new book story for anyone that reads it. Anyone who pokes fun of Oprah is okay in my book.
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