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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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013