This article from the Mail Online which suggests that books aren't selling and that most end up at the pulping-station is chock-full of fallacies. The article leaps from one incorrect statement to another; it builds conclusions on assumptions which are inherently unsafe; and it cobbles together quotes and snippets of information from various unrelated sources to present an argument which just doesn't hold water. It's a cringe-making example of bad reporting and has been discussed on several writers' message boards: here it is at Absolute Write.
Despite the article's many flaws I don't accept the argument "it's in the Mail, what do you expect?" I've written for the Daily Mail and know how hard-working and professional my editors were. I think that this is yet another case of someone not really knowing how publishing works, and consequently being unable to recognise the mistakes that they've made. And if their editor didn't understand book-publishing either, then those mistakes just wouldn't be noticed. It's a shame, as the central premise regarding returns and book-pulping is an important issue for publishing right now, and needs to be addressed. I'll save that for another time, and will be writing about the article's many errors in the next week or so; but meanwhile, join me in a round of Spot-The-Problem. I found a stonking twenty-eight troublesome phrases in that single article: what score did you get?