7 Books That Give Readers an Inside Look at the Book Business

when you pick up a book, how often do you think about what goes on behind closed doors to get it into your hands? It’s easy to get lost in the romanticism and mystery of the book business – I like to think of it as the “Mad Men” effect. The reality tends to fall somewhere in the murky middle just south of that romanticism, skewing closer to the everyday travails of any other job.

Every so often, a book comes along that offers readers a look into the inner workings of the book industry (though admittedly, not all of them are the truest to life). Here are a few of our favorites.

1.Muse by Jonathan Galassi

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Tracing the decades-long rivalry between two publishing titans, Muse is filled with details that only a publishing insider would know. It centers around Paul Dukach, an up-and-coming editor at Purcell & Stern, one of New York’s last independent publishing houses, and Ida Perkins, a notorious poet. Sterling Wainwright is Purcell’s main competitor and Ida’s publisher and occasional lover. Their intertwining lives, one explosive secret, and an unbridled obsession will push their worlds to the brink in this haunting and humorous novel.

2.Three-Martini Lunch by Suzanne Rindell

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Set against the backdrop of Greenwich Village’s Beat-nik culture of the 1950’s, Three Martini Lunch explores ambition, success, and secrecy during a bygone period in the publishing industry. Told from the shifting perspectives of a woman who dreams of becoming an editor, the son of a successful editor who sees himself as the next Kerouac, and a talented black poet, the novel is a fascinating view into a difficult time period in the publishing industry.

3.A Lady’s Guide to Selling Out by Sally Franson

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Perfect for Fans of Younger and The Devil Wears Prada, A Lady’s Guide to Selling Out tells the story of Casey Pendergast, previously a bookish English major, currently the latest member of a top ad agency. Casey’s bosses love that she knows how to tell a good story, and she tried to quell the feeling that she’s selling out by using her storytelling abilities to create advertisements. But when she’s assigned a campaign that pairs literary authors with corporations and sees how easily even her idols cave when faced with corporate money, Casey decides she may need to confront the nagging she’s felt since the very beginning of her career.


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