This year, on the face of things, it’s been business as usual at the Frankfurt book fair, with some 7,500 exhibitors setting up shop in the gleaming white Messe. But scratch beneath the surface and a tangible unease about the future of the industry is evident: book sales are stagnating, profit margins are being squeezed by higher discounts and falling prices, and the distribution of book buyers is ever more polarised between record-shattering bestsellers and an ocean of titles with tiny readerships. The mid-list, where the unknown writer or new idea can spring to prominence, is progressively being hollowed out. This is bad news not just for publishing but for the culture at large.

It’s time for a reformation in publishing, and the precepts set out below provide a basis for the creation of a new, healthier book industry. They echo another event that occurred during October in Germany, nearly half a millennium ago: the nailing of Martin Luther’s 95 theses to the doors of Wittenberg cathedral. Luther was protesting against the idea that the route to salvation could be secured by payments to those at the top of an ecclesiastical hierarchy. The theses here should have been pinned to the Amazon stand at Frankfurt.

Read the full article in The Guardian

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