I have adjusted the graphs from yesterday's post to take into account your various observations and suggestions. The y-axis represents profits generated by the publisher from each title. The x-axis represents books from the No. 1 bestseller on the right down to progressively less well selling titles on the left. As the graphs are only guesswork, I'm not going to suggest an x-axis scale this time.
Graph one - the publishing industry 20 years ago:
Graph 2 - the publishing industry today.
Thus larger amounts of money are being made by a smaller number of titles, the total size of the market remains more or less constant and the mid-list is squeezed to almost nothing.
This leaves me with two questions - after which I will shut up on this topic (for a while at least!). 1) Why do some really excellent novels get rejected by publishers large and small? 2) How in the future are the excellent books below the bestseller list going to have any profile?
My working hypothesis for question 1) is that the number of novels being written now is SO great that excellent writing is sometimes missed in the slush pile, even though more novels are being published than ever.
As to the second question, perhaps I will just have to wait and see.