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Words & Money Hardcover – November 8, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


“André Schiffrin, a distinguished former New York publisher, has been throughout this decade an indispensable, if rather pessimistic, guide to life after a cultural apocalypse, first in the much-admired The Business of Booksand now in Words and Money. There’s a lot that’s passionate and useful in Schiffrin’s anguished analysis.”—Robert McCrum, Observer

“A masterful assessment of the media crisis of our times and a roadmap to workable and effective solutions. This elegant essay is intelligent, informed, reasoned, and humane—exactly the book the world needs at this time.”—Robert W. McChesney

“A utopian vision, to be sure, but a refreshing one.”—Le Monde

“This book reads like a novel. Schiffrin continues to sow ideas for saving the independence of the press, the cinema, and bookstores. Visionary as always.”—Le Magazine des Livres

“A lifelong promoter of independent media, André Schiffrin again leads the charge in Words and Money, offering a host of original and valuable ideas about one of the critical challenges of our day—saving books, movies, and news in an era of chains, blockbusters, and the internet.”—Michael Massing

“Schiffrin shows how media consolidation is pulling the teeth of serious journalism, and how it can get its bite back.”—Vanity Fair

“Masterfully written and extremely thought-provoking, this work should stimulate a much-needed dialog among those interested in the communications and publishing field.”—Library Journal

“A sophisticated voice of reason.”—Los Angeles Times

About the Author

André Schiffrin was, for thirty years, the publisher of Pantheon Books. In 1990 Schiffrin left Pantheon to found The New Press. He is the author of The Business of Books, Words and Money, A Political Education, and Dr. Seuss & Co. Go to War: The World War II Editorial Cartoons of America’s Leading Comic Artists. He divides his time between Paris and New York.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Verso (November 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844676803
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844676804
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,148,616 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

In close to fifty years as an editor, first at Pantheon Books and then as the founding director of The New Press, André Schiffrin was responsible for a great many books on World War II, including Art Speigelman's Maus and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Embracing Defeat. He is the author of several books himself, among them The Business of Books and A Political Education. He lives in New York City.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. J. Sutter on June 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book offers many constructive suggestions and examples for how to deal with the "free market"-induced contraction of content in book publishing, the press and cinema. Since most of them involve some sort of government involvement at least at the local level, and/or the imposition of taxes to support the respective schemes, they are -- as André Schiffrin freely acknowledges -- unlikely to find a warm reception in the U.S. That's unfortunate.

Some types of government support have a long tradition in American history. For example, thanks to Ben Franklin, newspapers historically enjoyed low postal rates. It's only in recent times that the US government has tended to argue against such special breaks for publications. Other forms of support would benefit users without imposing a burden on them. E.g., news organizations are being hurt by aggregators like Google, who gather headlines without paying for them -- reading these has in many cases become a substitute for reading the original sources. Why not impose a tax on Google's profits or its ad revenue, to be used to make grants or other subsidies available to news-gathering organizations? Schiffrin cites the example of France, where TV ads are taxed in order to support the film industry.

No doubt the conjunction of "France", "tax" and Google, our epoch's poster child for entrepreneurial and innovative success (i.e., the attainment of monopoly power), will induce many American readers to dismiss Schiffrin's suggestions as too "left." For such folks, the book offers many facts and figures that are signs of the world to come, when the free market (with regulations friendly to the largest corporations) decimates our culture even further. E.g.
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Format: Hardcover
The book made me think hard about the paucity of interesting movies available in the US, as well as the loss to society of all our independent bookstores giving way to big boxes carrying mostly low-brow 'best-sellers.' I don't love his solutions, but he's worth reading and contemplating. [...]
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By Sherry Bunin on August 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Schiffrin is a first-rate writer as well as observer on the book publishing scene and, yes, as well as media in general. Interested? Read it.
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