The History of British and American Author-Publishers, by Anna Faktorovich

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A Non-Fiction Work: ebook format, I was asked to review. I will not give a review in the structure of a book report, but I will make the following points:

An insightful study that outlines the beginning of the publishing world centering around four large publishing houses: HarperCollins, MacMillan, Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster; and, authors affected by their controlling actions to corner the market with publication.  From early on, during the Harper days, authors such as Edgar Allen Poe, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and others,  who struggled against the rules of writing imposed by Harper, attempted to self-published when and where they could, only to meet with ridicule and “black-balling.”

This continued belief that publishers were the ones to decide what and when a book should be published continued through the reign of the other large conglomerate publishing houses that followed, and in some retrospect, carries on even today.  Although their actions are not as outright and harsh, large publishing houses today have a huge amount of control over publications. This includes trends, fads, choice of authors, and what independent publishers, small presses and authors want to publish, promote, market and sell.

Faktorovich, through the use of factual research has pointed out that these four large publishing houses have set the trends of publishing to this day, and that the means of establishing what is now a considerable and legal business practice wasn’t necessarily acquired through honesty and equanimity of past business actions.  These publishing houses today basically set the parameters of what is acceptable publications, although through time, tempered to a less confining structure. What happened to Rembrandt was insane and should never have happened and wouldn’t today.

It was interesting to read about the struggles of past authors noting, that in the self-publishing world, things really haven’t changed that much. With the exception of the control larger publishing houses hold over the smaller ones, everything about publishing for independent authors has continued to be an unfortunate struggle. The idea that one voice, the only voice according to some, is the only one that matters in the publishing world,  is stifling. After all this time, if would be far more pleasing to see that publishing had progressed through trial and error towards a more “freedom of speech” idealization, but after reading this book, it really hasn’t.

Sure, there have been minor leaps and bounds made, tone has softened to being less harsh when judging the content of a book by an independent author, however, the struggle for recognition as being a sound voice worthy of being in print even if independently published, is still an ongoing battle between publishing giants, small presses, and independent publishers. The corner on a market not available to independent publishers, still exists because of connections and costs.  Even Amazon has joined the ranks of the conglomerates.

The artwork for the cover is lovely and perfect for the work involved. I thought the beginning a bit slow, perhaps too academic, but the pace picked up quickly and I was hooked. I find history so fascinating and know others will enjoy the information contained in this book who also share the same love. I don’t want to give spoilers, but there was a moment in the book I didn’t quite grasp regarding a tangent about Michael Jackson… but you tell me.

I would classify this book as interesting and thought provoking, informative and noteworthy. It is well-researched and an important read to anyone involved or interested in the publishing world. Overall, I recommend this book.

I give this book:

3-5_StarRating-3

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