Now, what is it about literary fraud that has become so important right now? As the stakes go up for the few commercially successful books, and non-commercially-successful books become an endangered species, the pressure is on authors as never before to offer some compelling piece of earned experience to society. Literature has always had this burden, it’s just more intense than ever. James Frey lying about how much time he’d spent in jail and Visnawathan trying to tell us something new about the adolescent experience—both were under a lot of pressure to fake it up.

It’s not that there are fewer authors than ever. Actually it’s the opposite, there are more than ever. Blogs show that there’s more and more room for writers in society. We want writers in the information age. But to make money as a writer—ah, there is more competition than ever.