books > so many books

So Many Books cover.jpg

144pp hardback
ISBN: 978-0954221782


so many books

by gabriel zaid

“Humankind writes more than it can read.”

So Many Books is not so much a book as a conversation: about books, about reading, about the mad business of how a book is born every 30 seconds. It is a book of proposals and arguments and debate about books, from the age of Socrates to our own. Join the conversation.

From So Many Books:

“If not a single book were published from this moment on, it would still take 250,000 years for us to acquaint ourselves with those books already written.”

“Maybe the measure of our reading should therefore be, not the number of books we’ve read, but the state in which they leave us. . . whether the street and the clouds and the existence of others mean anything to us; whether reading makes us, physically, more alive”


“With cascades of books pouring down on him from every direction, how can the twenty-first-century reader keep his head above water? Gabriel Zaid answers that question in a variety of surprising ways, many of them witty, all of them provocative.”
Anne Fadiman, Author of Ex Libris

“Zaid traces the preoccupation with reading back through Dr. Johnson, Seneca, and even the Bible (“Of making many books there is no end”). He emerges as a playful celebrant of literary proliferation, noting that there is a new book published every thirty seconds, and optimistically points out that publishers who moan about low sales “see as a failure what is actually a blessing: The book business, unlike newspapers, films, or television, is viable on a small scale.” The New Yorker

“The human race publishes a book every thirty seconds,” observes Mexico City-based poet and essayist Zaid, and therefore “how is a single book among the millions to find its readers?” This is the conundrum upon which Zaid builds his incisive, wry, ultimately celebratory meditation on the chaotic and wasteful, yet exciting and felicitous world of books…Zaid’s treatise will engage every serious reader.” American Library Association

”Our universal graphomania produces a million titles a year, in printings of several thousand copies,” writes Zaid, a Mexican poet, critic and business writer. He adds that technology already gives us access to whatever book we want, though publishing and bookselling conglomerates tend to ensure that like the rich, best sellers get benefits denied to others – to struggling midlist books … One of the pleasures of ”So Many Books” is that its content and form are perfectly synchronized. Zaid makes his points in a vivid, concise way; his text is a compactly designed 144 pages. Each chapter could be a separate essay, but there is a clear overview; ”So Many Books” is a whole with an air of improvisation.”  The New York Times Book Review

This small book is a gem: an absorbing conversation about the whole point of reading, the surplus of titles, and our own lack of time.
— Alasdair Palmer, Sunday Telegraph

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