. . .Bookselling is a trade; it is sad but not criminal that it operates like one, cutting deals to maximise profit. It is sad but not surprising that big booksellers do not care that their practices are widening the gulf between hyped authors and the rest, squeezing out new writers and truncating the careers of those who fail to return the publisher’s investment fast enough. "Bookselling is a trade; it is sad but not criminal that it operates like one, cutting deals to maximise profit."
Crime? Trade? "Free" trade (as it's called)? NAFTA? WTO? World Bank? Of course much "trade" is criminal, backed up by the biggest of guns, bombs, and threats, and often railed against. The book "trade" is part of that — a reflection of the larger society and economy, much of which is criminal, however legalized, and protected by force (from the marginalized, the executed, the disappeared, including those who would speak and mobilize on their behalf). Just how common knowledge this is, is indicated by the fact that the reality is noted merely in passing for the purpose of dismissing it without argument — a gesture, an effort, probably unconscious, that's comical, at best…
"cutting deals to maximise profit" — nothing criminal about that happy state of affairs, as the thriving world can attest.
"Hey mom, when I grow up, I want to 'cut deals to maximise profit'."
"Excellent, son. Just be sure to hire enough police, and military, to protect you. Try your luck in books, why don't you? I hear the police there talk a lot and don't need to carry guns."
Stop that. Brazen intrusion of reality, that the word police, or their spokespeople, and acceptable litterateurs, are quite visible, and are as busy now as ever.