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Three Reasons the Book Industry is Cautiously Optimistic

Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

1. The crash is over—just like everywhere else.

“The change was probably the same as what affected the rest of the economy,” says a publishing-house exec. “The acquisitions market now feels healthy.”

2. Great literary novels are still marketable—and can still make money. 

Philipp Meyer’s critically acclaimed second novel, The Son, received a seven-figure advance that sales are expected to vindicate. “It became a self-fulfilling prophecy,” one agent explains. “With that amount of money on the line, it had to be the book you heard about everywhere.”

3. Awesome, quirky novels get lost in the din—but the Internet bails them out. 

Sergio De La Pava self-published his debut novel, A Naked Singularity, in 2008 and into obscurity. It slowly got noticed by blogs and the like, which compared him to David Foster Wallace. Four years later, it was published by University of Chicago Press. Later this month, it will be honored with a prestigious PEN Literary Award.