You don't like what we produce? You'll just have to work harder at it then

This is the cry of the producer interest over the ages. We're producing what we desire to produce, if you don't like it well then, you'll just have to work harder at it, won't you?

In the face of plummeting sales of literary fiction, the writer Howard Jacobson has declared that the novel is not dead: the problem is the modern reader, who apparently lacks the attention span to enjoy the intellectual challenge of reading.

He actually goes so far as to say that the reader is the problem. But nthen that's that producer interest, as we say.

The NHS isn't competing for our money so we get whatever it is they desire to allow us to have, not what we might want. Mixed sex wards don't exist in the private sector, they do in the NHS.

BT, when nationalised, wasn't exactly swift at installing that basic desire we have from a phone company, a phone line.

It's true, obviously it is, that literary fiction does at least try to sell us a copy or two. But the ecosystem is also buoyed, kept afloat, by that river or ocean of public and grant money. That is, the practitioners don't have to pay all that much attention to what the readers might actually want.

So, obviously, they don't. And when they don't they get told it's their fault. Such is the cry of the producer over the centuries. And it's only market competition that deals with it too. The genre novels are doing just fine....