Authors Should Not Know That Much About Their Readers


I disagree. I think all writers should keep their audience in mind.
Sounds like Basil Valentine's "novel factories" in The Recognitions. Also, I found Evison is a genuine asshole in person.
There is a whole school of literary criticism built around the idea of the importance of the engagement of the reader with the text -- reader response theory, some of the big guns being Stanley Fish and Roland Barthes.

I don't see how this really alters any kind of literary landscape to be honest. Nothing to see here.
It's just like music: you can use statistics and research to craft the perfect hooky bubblegum pop song (eg. "Call Me Maybe"), or you can just create good and compelling music that means something (eg. Peter Gabriel). So what? We get 50 Shades of Boring Sex and we get Moby Dick or Infinite Jest, there's room for all, I would think.

Look, computers are going to be writing novels here pretty soon, within our lifetime probably. The news almost certainly will be. Will you be out of a job? No, because there will be interesting stuff written by humans to review, forever. The schlock will go on the Kindle e-reader, and the good stuff will actually get published in bound books. Probably.
This reminds me of Komar and Melamid's "Most Wanted Painting" project. Writers learn about what their readers want by being readers themselves and reading a lot. I don't think it's "unliterary" to care about the reader's experience, and in fact that's what writing is, really. The reader you're satisfying first is yourself. You're writing the book you want to be reading. And your taste arises from everything you've ever read.
Paul just hates amazon and the kindle. There is no story here.
Everything should not be by referendum. Most people don't know shit about literature, and making it more palpable for today's audience is not going to increase a book's relevanace and lasting impact. It's the fucking Marketing department that thinks this is a good idea, and after the HR department they are the stupidest people in every company.