Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Welcome to Your Life?

Laurence Kirshbaum, former head of the Time Warner Book Group, recently left his job to become an agent. For someone who spent the lion's share of thirty years at the company, he sure has a lot of disdain for corporate publishing. Still, I see where he's coming from:

"But publishing is built on an economic model that is really very painful for the people working there," he said. "It is still a little bit of a medieval guild system," where apprentices take years to work their way up a ladder of a half-dozen rungs, from editorial assistant to low-level editing spots and, if they are very diligent, to full-fledged editor.

"They love their jobs, and they love the creative excitement that comes from working there," Mr. Kirshbaum said. "But when you're sharing an apartment in Queens with four other people because you're getting 3 to 4 percent annual raises on a $25,000 salary, it's not a great thing."


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