What can be done to save the word—be it in the form of the book or the newspaper? That is the question posed by André Schiffrin—for thirty years the publisher at Pantheon and now director of The New Press. Having published authors like Jean-Paul Sartre, Michel Foucault, Noam Chomsky, Kurt Vonnegut, Studs Terkel, Gunnar and Alva Myrdal, and Art Spiegelman among others, ten years after being forced out of Pantheon, Schiffrin wrote The Business of Books. Part-memoir, part-history, this irascible, acute and passionate account of the collapsing standards of contemporary publishing has since appeared in some thirty countries, not only across Western Europe but also in China, Japan and Russia. In 2010, Schiffrin followed it up with Words and Money, which discusses the crises in publishing following the breakdown in the world’s capitalistic system and the solutions that have been sought in many countries to the new problems of corporatisation and the unabashed pursuit of the bottom line.
The Business of Words is the first combined edition of both the books. It will make everyone seriously interested in ideas and information think again.