New York Magazine: Publishers Are Sweaty, Disheveled, Unkempt

An illustration in a New York Magazine brief about the Department of Justice e-book price-fixing lawsuit portrays book a publisher in a torn tweed coat with elbow patches, an ill-fitting shirt and silly bow-tie. The publisher is angry and sweating. The article begins with publishers as defeatists (Sharp Elbow Patches):

New York book publishing loves a tragic hero, especially when it sees one in the mirror. Historically a bastion of English majors and dissipated heirs, it savors the role of cutthroat capitalism’s noble victim. When the spare-parts conglomerates began snapping up book imprints in the sixties, their gentleman owners grumbled—and eventually sold out. When chain bookstores began shutting out the independents, publishers eulogized the mom-and-pops—even as they knuckled under to Barnes & Noble. When Google began digitizing their books, they sued—then settled. Going all the way back to the Depression, when they let stores return unsold volumes at no cost, publishers have met industry challenges with valiant defeat.

Read more and see the illustration at


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