Skip to main content

Faber Rebooted

Stephen Page, publisher and chief Executive of Faber and Faber, has begun to see the digital light - or at least, some of its glow. While his brief article in The Guardian is hardly evangelical, it does seem to represent a conversion, for mainstream British publishing, away from a model that ignores social networking on the Internet, to one which seeks to grab hold of that platform, and haul bricks and mortar publishing, paper and all, into the 21st century. Eyewear has been arguing, in these unpapered but lettered pages, for just such a decision, for some time now, and welcomes Page's moves, to an extent.

However, if one reads closely, one will see that what is being proposed is not precisely an e-celebration. Rather, Faber is proposing to basically do what Salt Publishing already does - the "build it and they will come" approach, where a site offers cool things, around the books for sale (podcasts, and so on). This is not new; nor is the print-on-demand idea - many often smaller publishers already use this technology. Page risks appearing cynical if, as he suggests, the idea is to employ the energy and specialised interests of the web-world, in order to target more buyers. Publishing in the UK, as Eyewear has also suggested here, continues to miss the point of the literary Internet - that it thrives best when it is not simply, or even at all, about selling (though Amazon does that superbly). Wired and browsing readers with their own niche sites and interests, and the blogosphere, may resist being too-clearly targeted. However, as Faber is a business, some allowances can be made for the profit motive.

Still, as long as the editorial ethos of Faber remains relatively limited in scope, say in its poetry list, it will hardly be able to convincingly win over the younger generations who exist in cyberspace as much as anywhere. In other words: Faber's leap into Net-works should co-exist with a new leap into more innovative, democratic, and global editorial selections, for their poetry. You may have a cool new delivery system for your content, but so what, if the writing isn't, as it were, on the wall? There are dozens of very fine younger and emerging UK poets that Faber might've snapped up (let alone Indian, Canadian and American ones). Salt and Bloodaxe and Carcanet (and so on) have got there first. The "vision thing" isn't just a little machine for selling books. Page needs to get new poets on his pages.
2 comments

Popular posts from this blog

AMERICA PSYCHO

According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…

DANGER, MAN

Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…

OSCAR SMOSHCAR

The Oscars - Academy Awards officially - were once huge cultural events - in 1975, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Shirley MacLaineandBob Hope co-hosted, for example - and Best Picture noms included The Conversation and Chinatown. Godfather Part 2 won. Last two years, movies titled Birdman and Spotlight won, and the hosts and those films are retrospectively minor, trifling. This year, some important, resonant films are up for consideration - including Hidden Figures and Moonlight, two favourites of this blog. Viola Davis and Denzel Washington will hopefully win for their sterling performances in Fences. However, La La Land - the most superficial and empty Best Picture contender since Gigi in 1959 (which beat Vertigo) - could smite all comers, and render this year's awards historically trivial, even idiotic.

The Oscars often opt for safe, optimistic films, or safe, pessimistic films, that are usually about white men (less often, white women) finding their path to doing the right thin…