Culture, Radio

Review: Front Row – Do we publish too many books?

Front Row - Do we publish too many books?BBC Radio 4, Front Row Hay Festival debate: “Do we publish too many books?”

Podcast Fri, 29 May 2015, duration 29 mins

From the Hay Literary Festival, BBC Radio 4’s arts show Front Row asks the question “Do we publish too many books?” In a lively panel discussion, Samira Ahmed heads a panel of publishers, journalists and authors: Philip Jones editor of the trade journal The Bookseller, Crystal Mahey-Morgan Digital Sales and Marketing Director at Zed Books, Alexandra Pringle, the group editor in chief of Bloomsbury and Ali Sparks author of 41 books for children.

This edition picks apart the current state of the book market and the publishing business; how do authors break in and get published? How are the big publishing houses facing up to the competition from self-publishing, how do they maintain their profits in a shrinking book market fragmented by e-books and on-line, massive discounting by Amazon and others? And just how much does an author make on a copy of a best selling book; can you really make a living as an author? How many books is ‘too many’ and by whose measure.

Deftly contained in a half hour show, this is an insiders’ view of the publishing market with some contradictory and surprising answers to all those questions.

The podcast of the show is available in the permanent Front Row archive on the BBC website.

Front Row is BBC radio’s flagship arts show, broadcast weekday evenings from 7.15 to 7.45pm, interviewing leading writers, musicians, directors, actors, artists and more, with regular presenters the steady Kirsty Lang and blindingly obvious John Wilson. Casting a very wide net over the UK arts scene, it uses it’s magazine format well and you can guarantee at least one item of interest out of four or five on any given night. Sometimes dull, sometimes hopelessly worthy, it is nonetheless difficult to beat Front Row for the sheer quantity of coverage. Arts junkies rejoice. RC


About Robin Catling

Robin Catling gained degrees in both arts and technology which led to a diverse portfolio of employment. A freelance systems analyst, project manager and business change manager for the likes of American Express, British Airways and IBM, he moved on to web design, journalism and technical authoring. He has also worked in film and television, both behind and in front of the camera, including productions by Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorcese, Ron Howard and Ridley Scott. A qualified three-weapon coach, he runs West Devon Swords teaching sports fencing to all age groups, and in recent years qualified with the British Federation of Historical Swordplay to teach medieval and renaissance combat in the Historical Western Martial Arts.


3 thoughts on “Review: Front Row – Do we publish too many books?

  1. Terrific article!
    Thank you =)

    Posted by Mia Wallen | Oct 12, 2015, 2:35 am
  2. Wonderful article, I loved the science dictionary for kids bit

    Posted by Erwin Lindberg | Oct 12, 2015, 6:34 am
  3. Saved as a favourite, cool web site!

    Posted by Ashton Salkauskas | Jan 5, 2016, 2:21 pm

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