Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The Golden Age for Writers is...Right Now

This, according to Esquire.

From the article...

It's not just the novel, either. The essay — long or short, literary or plain — has never been stronger. Practically every week, some truly fantastic piece of long-form nonfiction appears. This is not the normal state of affairs, no matter what nostalgics pretend. It's easy to imagine that in the past every New Yorker had Hannah Arendt on the banality of evil or every Esquire had Nora Ephron on small breasts. Go back and look at those old magazines and you will discover something shocking: They're mostly boring; they're also often just plain sloppy. With a few notable exceptions, almost every magazine in the world is in its best shape ever, right now. Good old-fashioned competition — from the Internet and the expanding marketplace — has forced them to improve. They're better written. Vastly better designed. More entertaining. More accurate. Richer. Finding great writing — and getting stories in front of eyeballs — has never been easier. Try going to Longform.org or Byliner and not losing yourself in their labyrinths of entirely free, entirely superb stories. Read the blogs of Foreign Policy or the Pulitzer Center, which offer fantastic reporting from all over the world.

The publishers are making money, too. Revenue for adult hardcover books is up 8.3 percent from 2011, and paperback sales are up 5.2 percent. Book sales for young adults and children grew by 12 percent last year. E-books accounted for 30 percent of net publisher sales in the adult fiction category in 2011 — compared with 13 percent in 2010 — but there's little evidence that those numbers represent anything other than a shift in format. The e-reader is creating a new market, not destroying an old one. People with e-readers read more books than those without, and on average adult Americans read seventeen books in 2011 — a number that hasn't been higher since Gallup and Pew began tracking the figure in 1990. And it's not just crap books. The percentage of Americans who told the National Endowment for the Arts that they read literature rose in 2008 (their most recent survey) by 3.5 percentage points to more than half the population — the first gain in twenty-six years.

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