July 26, 2003

Ugh. It should be called "American Publishers Yawn at Foreign Fiction"

In the NYT, Stephen Kinzer easily pulls some horrible quotes from major publishers about how Americans don't want to read books translated into English. From a marketing hack at Harcourt: "We [Americans] are into accessible information. We often look for the story, rather than the story within the story. We'd rather read lines than read between the lines." And from a hack at Hyperion: "The hard fact is that given the reality of the world, we [Americans] simply don't have to be concerned about Laos, but people there might well want to be or have to be concerned about America."

Granted, it's not literature, but if a webful of kids can translate Harry Potter in German in two weeks [read Kottke comments here], why can't the world of people who don't work for ridiculous publishers start bubbling these things to the top and translating them collaboratively? Just to see what sticks.

If I were Jeff Jarvis, I'd say this was a project for webloggers.

Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

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