Books: Where the Money Lies

For the hungry author, yesterday's get-rich-quick formula was to produce a popular success and then sell it to the movies. Today, Hollywood's supremacy as the fountainhead is under serious challenge by the paperbacks. Once little more than literary scavengers prospecting the bestseller lists for low-risk, high-return reprints, the paperback publishers have risen on soaring profits to the estate of a wealthy and indiscriminate buyer that no writer can afford to ignore.

This new bull market for writing talent is not concerned with literary values, and it is even less interested in giving a leg up to the worthy unknown. The paperbacks are...

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