What can be done to save the word—be it in the form of the book or the newspaper? That is the question posed by André Schiffrin—for thirty years the publisher at Pantheon and now director of The New Press. Having published authors like Jean-Paul Sartre, Michel Foucault, Noam Chomsky, Kurt Vonnegut, Studs Terkel, Gunnar and Alva Myrdal, and Art Spiegelman among others, ten years after being forced out of Pantheon, Schiffrin wrote The Business of Books. Part-memoir, part-history, this irascible, acute and passionate account of the collapsing standards of contemporary publishing has since appeared in some thirty countries, not only across Western Europe but also in China, Japan and Russia. In 2010, Schiffrin followed it up with Words and Money, which discusses the crises in publishing following the breakdown in the world’s capitalistic system and the solutions that have been sought in many countries to the new problems of corporatisation and the unabashed pursuit of the bottom line.
The Business of Words is the first combined edition of both the books. It will make everyone seriously interested in ideas and information think again.
André Schiffrin was the publisher of Pantheon for thirty years and is the founder and director of New Press. He published authors like Jean-Paul Sartre, Michel Foucault, Noam Chomsky, Kurt Vonnegut, Studs Terkel, Gunnar and Alva Myrdal and Art Spiegelman.
A lucid insider analysis of the politics of publishing.—The Hindu
Schiffrin gives us, crisply enough, the basics of modern publishing practice.—The Guardian
‘A masterful assessment of the media crisis of our times and a roadmap to workable and effective solutions… intelligent, informed, reasoned, and humane—exactly the book the world needs at this time’—Robert W. McChesney, author of The Death and Life of American Journalism
‘Schiffrin shows how media consolidation is pulling the teeth of serious journalism, and how it can get its bite back’—Vanity Fair
‘Schiffrin’s careful tracing of the growth of independent and committed publishing holds many lessons for India where, despite the overwhelming presence of international publishers, the sharp edge of publishing is retained by indigenous, independent and small publishers’—Urvashi Butalia, publisher, Zubaan