Publishers' Dilemma: Judge a Book by Its Data or Trust the Editor's Gut?
Publishing is a notoriously risky business.
A publishing house might give a first-time author a six-figure deal, only to see the book flop. It's always been hard to predict what will sell. Now publishers are getting some help from data that tells them how readers read — and that makes some people nervous.
Alan Rinzler has a long history in publishing. Starting as an editor in 1962 he worked with some greats, including Toni Morrison, and ushered in some of that era's classics: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and Manchild in the Promised Land. Now a freelance editor, Rinzler says publishing a book is not just a business decision, it's an act of love.