‘A Publisher’s Confession’

Written By Adrienne Dunn

Written in 1905, the book by Walter Hines Page detailed the faults and errors of his literary peers. Page was a notable figure at the time—but he wrote the book anonymously. Hines disclosed his opinions regarding publishers.

New York Times reviewers criticized the North Carolinian for giving the book a misleading title that implied Page was confessing his shortcomings. ‘A Publisher’s Confession, however, was praised for informing the general public about corruption within the publishing industry. For example, Page discussed why bad novels sold more than good ones: what was a popular topic and would sell was printed. According to Page, the commercialization of literature led to the manufacture of low-priced books and the publisher cared not for their content.  It was quantity over quality.