LETTER:Snobbish suicide

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The Independent Online
From Ms Celia Brayfield

Sir: In his diagnosis of publishing's ills ("Penguin: what happened?" 22 July), Jeremy Lewis says "the great trick of literary publishing has always been to finance with the profits of bestsellers more difficult or worthwhile work". He assumes that worthwhile work must be unprofitable and that no bestseller can be worthwhile - nonsense which I, as an author, find insulting but regrettably familiar. All industries finance their risk-taking from profits generated by successful products - but only in publishing is the successful product despised.

What happened? Why not take a longer view? When books were the only medium of mass communication, publishers were fine. When challenged by film, radio, television and electronic publishing, they chose suicide by snobbery.

Yours faithfully,

Celia Brayfield

London, W4

24 July

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