Words & Money

A publishing luminary analyzes the crisis of the media and considers the alternatives.
Ten years after the publication of The Business of Books, his groundbreaking critique of conglomeration in the book industry, André Schiffrin turns his attention to the broader crisis in the media. Just as corporatization and the lowest-common-denominator pursuit of the bottom line have had a parlous effect on publishing, media consolidation has contributed to the ongoing demise of serious journalism in newspapers, magazines, serious broadcast news, and online journalism. Schiffrin compares the media crisis in the United States to the situation in Europe and across the globe, and he demonstrates how the American corporate model has extended its reach. But he also describes and considers a range of alternative policies culled from many countries that, if pursued, could help to save journalism and the media in the US. This is a superlative essay that will make everyone seriously interested in the media and publishing think again.


  • “André Schiffrin, a distinguished former New York publisher, has been throughout this decade an indispensable, if rather pessimistic, guide to life after a cultural apocalypse, first in the much-admired The Business of Booksand now in Words and Money. There's a lot that's passionate and useful in Schiffrin's anguished analysis.”
  • “A masterful assessment of the media crisis of our times and a roadmap to workable and effective solutions. This elegant essay is intelligent, informed, reasoned, and humane—exactly the book the world needs at this time.”
  • “A utopian vision, to be sure, but a refreshing one.”
  • “This book reads like a novel. Schiffrin continues to sow ideas for saving the independence of the press, the cinema, and bookstores. Visionary as always.”
  • “A lifelong promoter of independent media, André Schiffrin again leads the charge in Words and Money, offering a host of original and valuable ideas about one of the critical challenges of our day—saving books, movies, and news in an era of chains, blockbusters, and the internet.”
  • “Schiffrin shows how media consolidation is pulling the teeth of serious journalism, and how it can get its bite back.”
  • “Masterfully written and extremely thought-provoking, this work should stimulate a much-needed dialog among those interested in the communications and publishing field.”
  • “A sophisticated voice of reason.”


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    François Maspero was a French journalist and author who passed away earlier this year. Verso presents this translated tribute to the founder of Éditions Maspero, the publishing house which has served as an inspiration for radical left publishing since the fifties.

    A pair of texts by Mohamad Yefsah and Aymeric Monville

    François Maspero died on 13 April 2015 at the age of 83. Here we present madaniya.info’s effort to pay tribute to this extraordinary individual and his eminent contribution to the struggle for the liberation of the Third World.

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  • André Schiffrin - In Memoriam

    With the passing of André Schiffrin, the publishing world has lost a giant and Verso a much-respected author, whose razor-sharp analysis of the publishing industry has been vindicated many times over.

    Culturally, intellectually and physically he inhabited two worlds: Paris/New York.

The single most important influence on his life was his father Jacques Schiffrin, a refugee from St Petersburg who arrived in France in 1920 and by 1923, had established a publishing house, La Pléiade, a permanent bequest to French culture. The publishing house started by translating the Russian classics, translated into French by Schiffrin and established a strong reputation as a house of quality, that later became an imprint within Gallimard but with Jacques in complete editorial control. André was born in 1935.

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  • On André Schiffrin

    André talked me into book publishing, when most of my friends were abandoning the dying planet of print for the exciting new cosmos of the Internet. He somehow managed to suggest that publishing was both doomed and indispensable. In any case, he didn’t talk much about the book “industry”—a term he hated—when we first met. Instead, he poured out a stream of questions about The Village Voice, where I was writing and editing—who are the most interesting writers?, what are they covering?, what is she saying about labor? Then questions about the media landscape—how does this compare to what Ehrenreich had written recently? Sen? Ha Joon Cha? Then history—but what about Piven’s arguments about the ‘30s? Arrighi’s? I discovered two things the first time I talked to André. One was what he wrote about his conversations with his good friend Foucault: “Simply talking to him made me feel much more intelligent than I was.” The other is that I knew nothing.

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Other books by André Schiffrin