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The True Crime Book Publishing Industry - Essay Example

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The True Crime Book Publishing Industry

The first is the obsession with death. The second is the obsession with the human capacity for evil, the ability to wreak destruction and chaos and take lives, fates, into mortal hands.3
Reflecting upon these two factors, anthropologists and psychologists have argued a very interesting thesis. The monsters which populate works of literature, pulp fiction, urban legends, myths and fairytales, are not the un-human creatures they are depicted as but metaphorical representations of the inhuman human.4 The historical inability to confront and acknowledge the capacity for evil which resides within man, to accept that the mysterious deaths and disappearances which have shocked communities over the centuries are, indeed the doing of men, not of un-human creatures, the collective imagination sought the creation of the monster-myth as a protective device against this reality.5
With the evolution of the media (the mass communication of messages) whether through the songs of the troubadours who roamed towns and villages, or the printing of the written word acknowledgement of the inhumanity of man was forced upon the human consciousness.6 Much of the early media, dating back to the thirteenth century, revolved around these inhuman humans. The fascination and interest they engender and continued to arouse throughout the centuries, to the extent that some, whether Val Drakul or Jack the Ripper, evolved into legends around which cults developed, testified to the human obsession with the killer, the murder, the criminal.7
The publishing world is founded upon the exploitation of human obsessions and interests. As with any market, the publishing world is geared towards the identification of existent demands, be they latent or expressed and response to those demands.8 If people are fascinated with the capacity for evil which resides in others, are obsessed with the workings of the criminal mind and derive some perverse pleasure from reading about, or seeing, others defy authority and defile the supposed sanctity of life, publishers will, as they always have, exploit that for the purposes of profit.9
While the term, exploitation,' holds innately negative connotations, it is not intended as a value judgment against the publishing business. As a business entity, it is incumbent upon publishing firms to identify consumer tastes, investigate new markets and explore the potential for growth in existing ones. Like any other profit-making concern, it is founded upon the imperatives of consumer satisfaction. Consumer satisfaction, itself, is predicated upon identifying and satisfying unexpressed tastes and predilections, and not only the expressed ones.10 The crime and true crime publishing industry did not create a demand for this product where none existed but catered to an existent demand, gradually working towards the delineation of a well-defined, every growing market.11
The historical evolution of the true crime publishing market is exceedingly difficult to trace. Over five decades ago, the director of the University of Chicago Press, W.T. Couch attempted to do just that, concluding with a concession regarding the virtual impossibility of the task.12 The fascination with true crime, ...Show more

Summary

Since time immemorial, man has exhibited an instinctual fascination with the monstrous and the macabre.1 To entertain and to frighten, the more creative of the imaginations have invented monsters; un-human, grotesque creatures who roam the darkness and prey upon the innocent and defenceless, torturing and murdering…
Author : nikolasmcdermot
The True Crime Book Publishing Industry essay example
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