Are Books Getting Dumber Because We Want Them To?

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Over at Bloomberg View, Stephen L. Carter examines the Amazon of the Victorian era, a book distributor named Charles Edward Mudie, and how readers are really to blame for literary fiction’s struggle to find a readership.

Carter writes about Mudie in response to Ursula K. Le Guin’s post at Book View Cafe arguing that Amazon is killing off serious literature by feeding the masses junk-food-like bestsellers.

“She is blaming Amazon for a huge shift in consumer taste, a wave Amazon may be riding but did not create.”

Mudie rode the same wave, Carter argues, by recommending and providing only books that filled the Victorian consumer’s prudish tastes.


Kelly Lynn Thomas reads, writes, and sometimes sews in Pittsburgh, PA. Her creative work has appeared in Sou’wester, Thin Air Magazine, Heavy Feather Review, metazen, and others, and she received her MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University. She is hopelessly obsessed with Star Wars and can always be found with a large mug of tea. She also runs the very small Wild Age Press. Read more at kellylynnthomas.com. More from this author →