literature is not a consumer good

The best way to move [poetry books and chapbooks] is to put readers in direct contact with the work or with the author, through readings, or through radio, or samplers. Trade publishers have adopted this mistaken notion that there is something to learn about marketing literary books from the world of potato chips and soap flakes—from the marketing of consumable items. Literature is not a consumer good, nor is it strictly speaking entertainment (though the hype around prizes in the fiction scene might suggest otherwise). To talk about literature in terms of consumer goods and entertainment is to talk about rivers and forests in terms of raw materials and natural resources—little good comes from it. Literature and culture are about human relationships, and so it follows that finding ways to foster direct and authentic encounters between a writer and an audience is the best way to promote a book.

- Andrew Steeves of Gaspereau Press, in response to rob mclennan's 12 or 20 (small press) questions. You can read the whole thing here.

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