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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thank You, C-SPAN-2, Now, Do Better!


The New York Times Sunday Book Review section recently featured a full-page ad highlighting the 15-year anniversary of C-SPAN-2 Book TV. On the one hand, showcasing tens of thousands of hours or programming dedicated to books is great. But on the other hand, it falls far short of what is needed to truly promote the book publishing world.

Take a look: the ad boasted of featuring 9,000 authors, but when you do the math, that’s fewer than two per day. Heck, in one 30-minute segment you could easily feature five authors.

Perhaps the problem is that C-SPAN-2 runs a long speech given by an author and then reruns it on a loop. Instead, such valuable air-time could be used to review books, interview authors, or feature shorter speeches that get aired just once.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against any media outlet that highlights the art of writers. But if no other station will step forward to promote books, we need C-SPAN-2 to increase and diversify its coverage. Over the duration of its existence, I calculate no fewer than four million books were published. They covered about a fourth of one percent of such books.

C-SPAN-2 wouldn’t even need much of a budget to produce significantly more programming. It doesn’t take a lot of resource to put on roundtables, interviews, or book readings. Heck, even airing two-minute book trailers created by authors and publishers would be helpful to launching a bigger buzz over a greater number of titles than is presently generated by the TV station.

But it’s not just to one station to rescue an entire industry. I would love to see book-related shows and segments air across the TV landscape. Every station can have a themed book show.

Couldn’t ESPN feature, once-a-week, a show highlighting sports books? Or maybe the Cooking Channel can cover the new cookbooks. Or can the Weathet Chanel talk to authors of books about great storms or rescue techniques?

I know the major networks and leading cable stations can do more to keep books in front of the public eye. I hope they do. TV executives should realize it’s a low-cost venture to feature books and authors.

Maybe one day publishing will get its own reality show. I don’t know if that’s a good thing, but right now, more TV coverage is preferred.

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BOOK EXCERPTS:
“To Life”

“Changing your life can affect the lives of people around you, and can create a ripple effect that spreads its influence farther and farther.”

“People are not afraid of dying, they are afraid of having not lived.”

“We want to live long enough to get it right, to know that we have realized our potential and made a difference to the world.”

“Don’t spend your whole life, with its potential for holiness, on eating, sleeping, and paying your bills.”

“The lesson that the world can be a cruel and unfair place is one we need to learn.”

“We reduce prejudice best by fostering a climate in which it is socially unacceptable to express prejudiced feelings about another group.”

“We all have many loyalties- to our families, to our faith, to our job, as well as to our country- and sometimes those loyalties come into conflict.”

“We hate people because they remind us of something we hate about ourselves… We are projecting on to them qualities we don’t want to have associated with ourselves… People hate, then, because they are small-souled, insecure, emotionally flawed people. In many cases, they hate themselves first and have to convince themselves that other people are even worse.”

“For one day, we try to see the world as it is supposed to be, free of pain and problems, to hold on to the vision of what it could be if we could just finally manage to get it right. We needn’t worry, our problems won’t disappear. They will all be there waiting for us at Sabbaths end- the unpaid bills, the family conflicts, the problems at work. But for one day, we will have had the liberating experience of not worrying about them.”

“We are free to choose how we will live and behave. But we can give away that freedom by the choices that we make. Every time we choose one path over another, we are choosing not only for that moment. We are shifting the odds as to how we will choose the next time we face that situation. For example, if we once cheat on our diet or falsify information on our income tax return, the next time we face that choice we will not only have to deal with the temptation again, we will have to deal with the memory of ourselves as a certain kind of person who cheats or falsifies. A person can freely choose to become dependent on drugs or alcohol, so bound to a certain habit that he can no longer freely choose whether to give it up or not. Think of a person standing at cross-roads, having to choose between two alternate paths. For the moment, each of them is equally accessible. But every step taken down path A makes it easier to continue down path A and harder to turn back and choose path B. What was originally an even choice has now become an uneven one.” 


Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

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