“Books today have become mere adjuncts to the world of mass media, offering light entertainment and reassurances that all is for the best in this, the best of all possible worlds. The resulting control on the spread of ideas is stricter than anyone would have thought possible in a free society.” – André Schiffrin, co-founder of the New Press
André Schiffrin, a publishing force for 50 years, whose passion for editorial independence produced shelves of serious books, a titanic collision with a conglomerate that forced him out to stem losses, and a late-in-life comeback as a nonprofit publisher, died in Paris on Sunday. He was 78.
In 1992, Mr. Schiffrin and Diane Wachtell, a former Pantheon editor, founded the New Press as an independent, nonprofit publisher of books “in the public interest,” funded by major foundations. He likened it to public television and radio, a house to supplement university presses in publishing riskier books. The enterprise flourished, and Mr. Schiffrin, its editor in chief for more than a decade, remained as founding director and editor at large until his death.
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You can find Schiffrin’s book, The Business of Books: How the International Conglomerates Took Over Publishing and Changed the Way We Read, on Amazon here.