THE AMERICAN TRADE BOOK INDUSTRY is undergoing the most serious recession in its history, and though it has rebounded from other down cycles in the past, anyone who thinks it will return to boom times is living in a fool's paradise.
Trade book publishing has been in decline since the end of World War II. Industry boosters cite increased sales volume over that period to support the view that all is well, but much of the growth can be attributed to normal population increases and inflation. For the real story, one has but to look at the long roll call of publishers that have been forced to sell themselves to conglomerates, merge with larger publishing houses, or go out of business entirely. I am not speaking about mom-and-pop ...