What makes a book last?
To play off the old real estate adage -- content, content, content.
I can't even keep up with the stuff I write, let alone anyone else, and I read -- a lot. As a publisher, I hope I can direct my readers to the types of content they desire. Desired content is as varied as humanity, so directing the reader to what they may be interested in feels like an overwhelming task.
I feel the tension as I've begun the publishing company in a whole new way. Immediate gratification seems to drive the human compulsion to buy. And motivating the compulsion to buy is what a business is all about. Content, however, is what gives the book legs. A great book is not like a great feast. A great book can sit on the shelf for decades and it will still be a great book. A great feast can sit on the table for about four hours before it starts to go bad. The battle between immediacy and longevity is just one paradox the writer and the publisher must face, but it is a biggie.
As a publisher, I hope I can provide great books and great feasts.