Overland editor and Leftwrites blogger Jeff Sparrow has a terrific piece today at crikey.com.au on the breathtakingly shameless move made by the Angus & Robertson book chain in recent days to snort up hundreds of thousands of dollars in blackmail-like payments from publishers and distributors deemed insufficiently profitable for them, the alternative being to lose their place on A&R shelves. This is a long and unsavoury story that I heard yesterday from some Adelaide publishers and that deserves more time than I have to do it justice, but here's Jeff's conclusion:
' ... the real threat to Oz-lit does not come from snooty postmodernists who deconstruct beer-coasters rather than reading books. The problem lies instead with the contemporary infatuation with neo-liberalism, a system that knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
We should fight for literature. But the important struggle is not in education: it’s in the market-place.'
Never mind the quality, feel the Ka-Ching!