As most book publishers bow to bestsellers and celebrity culture, serious literature can still thrive thanks to the internet
Last autumn was, as a result, difficult for publishers who support a broad canon from good commercial books to more literary or quirky titles. Like Lear's diminishing retinue these ever-decreasing circles are dangerous. Clearly a huge range of books currently gets published but something fundamental is shifting for publishers and writers which is threatening the range available to readers and the livelihoods of most writers. For example, the only serious piece of non-fiction in the top 100 for 2007 was Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion. Where was the history, literary memoir, science? Buried under a pile of celebrity biography, cookery and misery memoir?
Market forces are of course at the heart of this shift, so is it pointless to complain? Well, no. It does not have to be this way. Alongside a belief in the wilfulness of readers and writers, my hope for the richness of our future reading culture lies in a cocktail of new technology and strength of range-holding booksellers.