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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Read A Few Thousand Good Books Lately?

Imagine being sequestered somewhere for about a year, getting paid to do what you may love the most:  read books.  Lots of them.  Every day.  Non-stop.  A marathon of books, books, and more books.  Could you do it?

The equivalent for sports watching is taking place right now.  Major League Baseball, in its infinite marketing wisdom, is paying two guys to watch baseball day and night throughout the season.  They will watch 2450 regular season games and then the playoffs and World Series.  They are on display to the public – you can go to their first-floor “fan cave” in a space formerly famous for occupying the original Tower Records on East 4th Street in Manhattan.

Besides watching games, the two superfans film a reality show that airs on www.MLB.com.  These unabashed baseball addicts interest me because they call into question the old adage:  Too much of a good thing is not so good.  I wonder after it is all done if they will ever want to watch another game or will they come away as addicted as ever?

Can publishing sponsor some gimmick like this?  Can Random House, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster or St. Martin’s Press host a read-a-thon by its best authors?  Would Amazon sponsor a book-a-thon to highlight the readings of its best customers? Should Barnes & Noble pay someone to read as many books on its Nook as possible over the summer?  Maybe someone wants to set a Guinness Book of World Records mark for most books read and blogged about in one month?

The writing profession does get its due. There are many book and author awards out there.  There are a number of best-seller lists one can make.  There’s attention drawn to a book by reviewers and bloggers.  There are public book signings.  And there is countless coverage on social networking sites.  But maybe the industry, as a whole, needs some fanfare.  It’s been a rough few years with layoffs and consolidations, shrinking sales and store closings. 

It’s time to celebrate the profession and art of writing.  Go buy a book – or read one.

Or a few thousand of them.

            *** Brian Feinblum can be reached at brianfeinblum@gmail.com.

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