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.

Published by

Nic Sebastian

Nic is the author of Forever Will End On Thursday and Dark And Like A Web. She founded the now-archived Whale Sound site and is co-founder of The Poetry Storehouse. Nic blogs at Very Like A Whale and Voice Alpha.

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?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s