Revelatory ... It’s a compelling thesis, albeit one that fits easily into a fast-growing literature on the forces shaping the art and media we consume ... A fresh intervention, principally due to the richness of the context Sinykin provides and the impressively broad array of evidence he marshals.
Many academics are clinical prose stylists, but Sinykin writes with verve and narrative flair as he documents the consolidation of the major publishing houses ... Still, sentimental and naive as I am, I cannot quite shake the conviction that literature is more than an emanation of economic circumstance. For all its fragility and susceptibility to material degradation, it continues to strike me as a member of that endangered and embattled species: art ... Happily, Sinykin sneaks in some of the censure that conglomerations so richly deserve ... Ultimately, however, I wonder if conglomeration explains quite as much about contemporary writing and reading as Sinykin sometimes seems to think. Books are material and economic objects, but they are also aesthetic ones.
He wants to demonstrate...how the process of authoring a book has become subsumed by a larger and larger network of interests, changing what it meant to be an author. Critics and scholars, Sinykin contends, are uncomfortable displacing the author when studying literature. His book is an earnest attempt to focus attention on the non-authorial figures involved in a book’s creation ... Daring attempts to map the larger structures that shape how books are written and published, but their attention to the big picture can obscure how novels operate on a visceral, textual level. Still, Sinykin’s study is valuable.