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The Setting Sun

Apr
12
2005

Book publisher Judith Regan has decided to move to Los Angeles.
This story made the front page of the New York Times. That’s how shocking New Yorkers find the idea that people in L.A. actually read. Of course, The Atlantic Monthly’s Ben Schwarz has been in L.A. for years but he works for a magazine that’s based in Boston which most New Yorkers think of as a college “town,” so it doesn’t count. Even they have to admit L.A. is a city.


You can hear the subdued horror in this paragraph which manages to pack in quite a bit: “In doing so [moving West], ReganBooks, which is part of HarperCollins, which is in turn owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, would be one of the few major book imprints to be based outside Manhattan and one of the first to leave New York for the West Coast.”
The Murdoch reference is a nice one. That’s how New Yorkers say “tawdry.” You know, like a Hollywood actress with a bad boob job.
This’ll be interesting to watch. The action in L.A. these days is moving away from movies – in the traditional sense – toward video games and short-term TV series (think Sopranos). Murdoch has done a good job of taking advantage of these sorts of shifts before: Fox was built on the increasing popularity of cable TV which makes less powerful broadcast stations come in loud and clear.
Regan’s known for something similar: Taking folks who aren’t book writers and putting them between the covers, so to speak, and turning a nice profit (tawdry Murdoch likes profits). The book business has come to be completely dominated by East Coast-based Big Media in the past years, so any time anyone wants to leave that closed world — New York Times at breakfast, Michael’s for lunch, cocktails at SoHo House — it’s worth sending up a cheer.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 3:56 PM | Permalink

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