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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Where’s A Ballot Initiative For Book Publishing?


This past Election Day all across the country voters not only went to the polls to determine local political races but to cast a vote on a number of ballot initiatives, some having to do with gambling, marijuana, taxes, land use, and other important issues. It occurred to me that authors or publishers may want to rally around a ballot initiative. What would win the support of voters? What does the industry need?

Here are some ballot initiatives that I would propose:

1.      Remove taxation on printed books. Many states don’t charge a tax for newspapers or magazines, so why should books be any different? Anything that encourages the free flow of information and ideas should be supported -- not taxed.

2.      Create more federal writing grants. The government should support the liberal arts by handing out grants to authors. I would love to see more writers get more money.

3.      Provide interest-free loans for bookstore startups. We need more bookstores and we need them thriving. If someone is crazy enough to start a bookstore, give them some help!

4.      Student loan debt cancellation for select authors. To earn a college diploma or a higher education degree can be expensive. Majoring in English won’t likely net you career riches. How about wiping their education debt off the book if they publish a certain number of books?

5.      Tax credits for publishers. Publishers can use financial incentives to publish books that may not hold commercial riches but are nevertheless important works.

6.      Automatic increase in library budget allocations. Every municipality that supports a library should automatically have to increase its annual payment to libraries by the cost of living index. We can’t afford to not support libraries.

7.      Creation of mandatory public school pre-K. Not only would such legislation increase society’s chances of raising smarter, more prepared students, the extra year of formalized learning would no doubt yield more book sales.

8.      Naming local streets after authors. It’s a nice way to promote books and literature if we were to have Orwell Way or Shakespeare Circle or Rowling Avenue.

I’m sure we can come up with other ways to help those who serve an industry dedicated to expanding our minds, and bringing to life new ideas, experiences, and fantasies. Maybe you will craft a ballot initiative to help authors, publishers, and the book industry.

I know I would vote for it.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, 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

2 comments:

  1. I'm with you, Brian! A conversation just happened on LinkedIn about the lack of support for authors -- and the arts in general -- as compared to several years ago. I assume there are still some grants and residencies, but they are not as publicized and honored as they once were. Las Vegas has Black Mountain Institute connected to UNLV, and that has helped to grow a network of book fairs and conferences in the city for the rest of us to attend and take advantage of. Love the idea of student loan debt cancellation for published authors, and loans for bookstore start-ups. I can never seen e-books completely replacing the real thing. Stephen Colbert did a bit on Amazon stores on Cyber Monday. It's here if you missed it. http://buff.ly/1gOJwlH

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