Publishing Is Mega Business

The critics quoted in ``Critics Say Big Publishers Threaten Good Literature,'' Aug. 25, are right: The venality of corporate publishers, the ultimate vanity presses, leads inevitably to deleterious standards of published works. What the article fails to show is the extent of the influence of mega-publishing.

Mega-publishing, to ensure sales, continues to strive for market control by using mega-distributors who service mega-bookstore chains that refuse to stock independent publishers' works.

Some hidden ploys: Big publishing houses make money on hardcovers by charging $10 for the covers that cost 75 cents or less.

Mega-publishers regularly price books at eight times the cost of production, while small presses charge two to five times. Why? Small presses are sincere about publishing. Fat profits are not their goal. Many publishers do survive while losing money. Allan Shields, Mariposa,Calif. Publisher Jerseydale Ranch Press

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published, and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ``Readers Write,'' and can be sent by Internet E-mail (200 word maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115

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