Professor Martin Paul Eve, Birkbeck, University of London
“I think that every academic working in contemporary fiction has at least one bad story about trade publishers and agents. While some can be very helpful, in the main agents, and trade publishers are very unhelpful and resistant to academics. They do not see the point of us, which is odd as we sell many, many thousands of copies of their books to our students (nearly a captive audience, in fact) and more importantly we create the intellectual and cultural infrastructure within in which their business grows. (‘I studied her in college so I downloaded the new one straight away’.) Yet this, too, reveals that one issue in contemporary fiction is what we might call the ‘contemporary history of the book’: the ways in which the business of publishing helps to shape and control contemporary fiction. There seems to be a dearth of research into this aspect of the field.”
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