Sep 6, 2020
Kenneth White is the founder of Sutherland House Books. He is the former editor-in-chief of Saturday Night Magazine, the founding editor of The National Post, and the former editor and publisher of Maclean’s magazine. He was president of Rogers Publishing, Canada’s largest magazine company, and the founding president of Next Issue Canada (now Texture), in partnership with Conde Nast, Meredith, Hearst, and Time Inc. Mr. Whyte is the author of The Uncrowned King: The Sensational Rise of William Randolph Hearst (2008, Random House), In 2017, he published Hoover: An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times (Knopf), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Last month he launched a suicidal assault on libraries in a 3500-word article in The Globe and Mail newspaper. In it he posits, among other things, that: there are three times as many books borrowed as bought in the United States every year, and four times as many in Canada; that libraries don't passively lend books, they compete with booksellers by advertising how much people can save by borrowing rather than buying books, and they compete among themselves to lend the most books possible; and that most public library lending is of books read for entertainment, not edification, by people who can afford to pay for books.
We talked about his article via Zoom.