Book publishers have traditionally published a few books that they thought were of intrinsic merit even though these ...

Avi on July 12 at 04:51PM


I picked C. I thought that it weakened argument because if in the past many people ended up making profit from these types of books then it wouldn't be a good reason not to publish them. Why is this wrong and why is B right? Thanks.

1 Reply

Shunhe on July 13 at 10:13PM

Hi @avif,

Thanks for the question! So let’s take a look at the passage here. We’re being told that book publishers used to publish books they thought had “intrinsic merit” even if those books were unlikely to make a profit. But now fewer of those books are being published. The author then concludes that publishers are more interested in making money than in publishing books of intrinsic value.

Now we’re asked to find something that weakens the argument. And this argument is basically that publishers’ interest in making money has led them to (or caused them to) publish fewer books of intrinsic value. Take a look at (B). It tells us that there’s been a notable decline in the quality of books written in recent years. Well, if that’s true, then that suggests an alternative reason for why publishers aren’t publishing books of intrinsic value. It’s not necessarily that publishers are interested in money, it’s just that there are less books of intrinsic value! And so (B) introduces an alternate explanation, and weakens the argument.

Now take a look at (C), which tells us that in the past, often books of intrinsic value would unexpectedly make a sizable profit. But there’s a couple of problems with this one. One of them is that (C) is about “in the past,” whereas right now we are concerned with the present. How does what happened in the past about these books unexpectedly making money change the fact that in the present, publishers’ interest in money is making them publish fewer books of intrinsic value? It doesn’t really affect the argument at all. Even if some dude happen to unexpectedly make money, nowadays, you still might publish less because you don’t expect them to make money. You’re not going to think that some books unexpectedly made money in the past so yours is now.

Hope this helps! Feel free to ask any other questions that you might have.