Literary criticism is dwindling in importance in mainstream print media, yet there are more readers than ever in America. The NEA report goes against the grain of the general contraction in the publishing industry at present – like at DC Comics and Oxford.
In Australia, we have an estimated 600,000 plus people engaged in writing, of whom a mere 20,000 odd are professional writers. It all paints a daunting picture for beginning and emerging writers. While reading is a favourite activity of 61% Australians, even if there remains a market of readers, will there be the other necessary cultural and business infrastructure needed to publish?
There’s always the hope that the recession might work in our favour: we may spend our limited personal income on entertainment in a miraculous biostatic feedback loop of stress and pleasure. Amazon’s sales are up, so maybe it’s true!