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Doomsayers persist in the belief that the book world has been overrun by philistinism. They are wrong. Publishers can rejoice in unprecedented levels of both quality and quantity. We are living in a golden age of the book
“The editor has initiated a discussion as to the health of an industry, of which the national importance is altogether out of proportion to its size-the book trade.” These words were written in March 1927 by John Maynard Keynes, prompted by the editor of the Nation. Seventy-five years later, at the request of the editor of this magazine, I find myself following nervously in Keynes’s footsteps.
The prominence of the publishing industry remains disproportionate to its economic weight. In 2000, its domestic retail sales were just shy of £1 billion, and publishers moved stock worth a further £1.17 billion to…
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