Books: The Cheapest Form of Pleasure and Transformation?
Is the current economy good news or bad news for authors?
According to legendary publisher, Bennett Cerf, “The publishing business has always been rather stable. It doesn’t soar when things are going crazy and people with a lot of money are spending it . . . By the same token, when everything goes to hell, books become one of the cheapest forms of pleasure.”
And according to Sara Nelson, editor in chief of Publisher’s Weekly, who wrote an excellent article on the current state of publishing (posted on www.wowowow.com), Bennett Cerf “was talking about the 1930s, a time that’s starting to sound frighteningly familiar: the stock market crashing, banks collapsing, alarming unemployment and formerly reasonably solvent people, well, not so solvent.”
But perhaps scary economic times can herald a few surprises. What if our current economic woes actually brought on a new age for books and their readers? After all, people are staying home more and more, often watching television in excess, which even for the most devoted viewers becomes less and less satisfying.
We crave good stories. We crave good books. And unfortunately many publishing houses, as well as television producers, are giving us the equivalent of junk food. Books, like movies and television series, are becoming formulaic and predictable. So our search for good reads continues. Stories with substance. Stories with the ability to transform the way we think about things.
Although a book that transforms your life is really worth thousands of dollars, the icing on the cake is that you can get that transformation for less than twenty bucks! A good read is less than the cost of a movie ticket and a large popcorn or a few mornings of your favorite coffee drink.
So as people hunker down and wait to see what happens on Wall Street and Main Street, consider going to a good bookstore, online, or to the library and pick out a really good book. You may be pleasantly surprised at how fulfilling it is.