Review: Front Row – Do we publish too many books?

Front Row - Do we publish too many books?BBC Radio 4, Front Row Hay Festival debate: “Do we publish too many books?”

Podcast Fri, 29 May 2015, duration 29 mins

From the Hay Literary Festival, BBC Radio 4’s arts show Front Row asks the question “Do we publish too many books?” In a lively panel discussion, Samira Ahmed heads a panel of publishers, journalists and authors: Philip Jones editor of the trade journal The Bookseller, Crystal Mahey-Morgan Digital Sales and Marketing Director at Zed Books, Alexandra Pringle, the group editor in chief of Bloomsbury and Ali Sparks author of 41 books for children.

This edition picks apart the current state of the book market and the publishing business. How do authors break in and get published? How are the big publishing houses facing up to the competition from self-publishing? Can do they maintain their profits in a shrinking book market fragmented by e-books and on-line, massive discounting by Amazon and others? And just how much does an author make on a copy of a best selling book; can you really make a living as an author? How many books is ‘too many’ and by whose measure.

Deftly contained in a half hour show, this is an insiders’ view of the publishing market with some contradictory and surprising answers to all those questions.

The podcast of the show is available in the permanent Front Row archive on the BBC website.

About Front Row

Front Row is BBC radio’s flagship arts show, broadcast weekday evenings from 7.15 to 7.45pm.  The steady Kirsty Lang and blindingly obvious John Wilson interview leading writers, musicians, directors, actors, artists and more. Casting a very wide net over the UK arts scene, it uses it’s magazine format well. You can guarantee at least one item of interest out of four or five on any given night. Sometimes dull, sometimes hopelessly worthy, it is nonetheless difficult to beat Front Row for the sheer quantity of coverage. Arts junkies rejoice. RC

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