Over at Slate, editor Daniel Menaker has written a piece in praise of literary gatekeepers. This is a subject that has been getting a lot of attention for the past decade (at least) now, and for good reason. It’s still hard to say how the new digital dispensation will affect publishing, literature, or the arts economy in general. This week Leon Wieseltier had a piece in the New York Times offering another point of view. Menaker’s essay is worth a read, though his conclusion is a bit weak:
It’s incumbent on those who want to fire the gatekeepers and tear down the very gates themselves to explain what, if anything, will replace them.
It seems pretty clear that what those who want to fire the gatekeepers have in mind as their replacement is the invisible hand of the market, which will automatically feed demand with supply. The question is what impact this will have.