In respectable periodicals, books are given reviewing space in inverse proportion to the likely size of their sales. Airport and supermarket bookstalls stock only books that are expected to sell in large numbers. Consequently, those who buy books at such book stalls have to do so without any guidance whatever from the book reviewers whose work published in respectable articles.
Which of the following is a valid criticism of the argument above?
I'm curious to know the source of the question, since it doesn't strike me as a realistic GMAT question. There are two answers I find equally compelling here, though neither is one of the answers provided in the posts above.
The conclusion of the argument is an extreme one: "Those who buy books at airports and supermarkets get no guidance whatsoever
from reviewers who publish in respectable periodicals." We need to find a legitimate criticism of this argument:
A. bookstalls like those found at airports and in supermarkets are designed to induce people to buy books on impulse.
This has nothing to do with the conclusion, which is concerned with whether people read reviews of these books.
B. The assortment of books available at airport bookstalls is different from the that of books available at supermarket bookstalls.
Again, this has nothing to do with the conclusion.
C.The fact the book is expected to sell well does not guarantee that actual sales will be large.
The books stocked by airports are those expected
to sell well. Similarly, respectable periodicals make decisions about what books to review based on expected
sales. Actual sales are irrelevant to the argument.
D. Many who later come to be respected as book reviewers start their careers by writing for trashy magazines
If I make certain assumptions, this seems like a perfectly plausible criticism of the argument. The argument claims that people buying books at airports get no guidance from reviewers who publish in respectable periodicals
. It does not claim that people don't get guidance from the periodicals themselves. If the reviewers who publish in respectable periodicals also
publish reviews in other places, perhaps people do get guidance from those reviewers - from the reviews they publish in trashy magazines, for example. If all of the reviewers who now publish in respectable periodicals used to publish book reviews in trashy magazines, and if trashy magazines publish reviews of airport stall books, readers may have had access to extensive book reviews of airport books by these writers - not, perhaps, of the latest publications, but there may certainly be older books on the bookstands in airport book stores. So I can justify D on those grounds, though it requires a few assumptions - in particular, I'm assuming that airport book stores still have older books on their shelves. Without information about that, D is a potentially valid criticism.
E. The conclusion that respectable periodicals never publish reviews of projected best sellers is unwarranted.
This, however, is certainly a valid criticism. We know that "in respectable periodicals, books are given reviewing space in inverse proportion to the likely size of their sales." Well, if two things are inversely proportional, as one goes up, the other goes down. That is, the higher the expected sales of a book, the less space the respectable periodical will allocate to the book's review. Notice that does not
mean that the book gets no review at all from the periodical -- it only means it gets a shorter review than a book which is not expected to sell well. E identifies a flaw in the argument - the argument misunderstands the meaning of 'inverse proportion' - and is a perfectly valid criticism.
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