Books: Peeved Look at Publishing

Despite the supposed intellectual languor of a nation devoted to TV and tailfins. U.S. publishers are turning out books as fast as they can be printed (a near record 11,881 titles so far this year), and customers are buying at a rate that will probably surpass the 1956 high of some $750 million. But to Veteran Publisher Alfred A. Knopf, 65, the state of the publishing business is parlous. In the current Atlantic Monthly, Knopf lines up his culprits for a scattergun blast.

First of all, Knopf hits the booksellers. Most of them, he grumbles,...

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