Why don’t we change the poetry book economy?

“Nobody except the handful of mega-poets sells many poetry books, regardless of how much effort they put into marketing/promoting (see one unscientific survey). In my view, our mistake as a poetry community is buying into the traditional commercial paradigm, within which poetry sits very uneasily. We lock our poems up in hard copies which are then only available for sale – how do we expect that to nurture and grow our product? Why don’t we change that paradigm – we are a small enough community that we probably could. How about running things on the lines of a gift economy? And based on multi-format publishing, not just print? My two cents.”

Just added my mad-haired-prophet-in-the-wilderness two cents to this interesting and much-commented-on FB thread on poetry book sales.

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6 thoughts on “Why don’t we change the poetry book economy?

  1. Lol – feel like a stuck record on this. But once again, here’s this divide between professional and non-professional poets that people like to say doesn’t matter at all. It does. The ‘professional’ side, which I respect deeply, is nonetheless perpetuating this print paradigm quagmire that is definitely not serving the long-term interests of poetry writ large. The ‘non-professional’ side doesn’t give a hoot about tenure – how many are they, and why can’t they drive change?

  2. As poetry is such a niche sport with next to zero chance of making a living from writing it, it may as well be shared for free. Besides, money-making poetry has, by definition, to be popular and is often labelled in literary circles with the ultimate put-down snark of ‘accessible.” So sharing must be the way forward?

  3. Pingback: online poet demographics – results of a completely unscientific & amateur survey | Very Like A Whale

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