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Friday, November 7, 2014

Red Scare: The Republican Impact On Book Publishing


The 2014 election season has finally concluded.  It began the day after the 2012 election.  This one ended in a bang, with the Republicans extending their hold in the House of Representatives and taking control of the Senate, leaving Congress in the hands of one party, the White House of the other.  So what will it mean for the country, and in particular, the book industry?

Generally, the Republicans favor a smaller government, lower taxes, more support for the military, are pro-life, less sympathetic to those who struggle (homeless or poor), less open to science (evolution, climate change), more supportive of religion, and more for corporate welfare than social welfare.  So if they vote as a block – and negotiate with President Barack Obama – what kind of book world might we see?

First, any changes to the tax structure will likely help the business world.  In the end, such a change may hurt the country (less tax revenue means more deficit or fewer services), but in the short run, could boost the economy if businesses use the savings to hire more people and reinvest in their companies.  If the businesses just hoard the savings and don’t circulate the money, everyone loses – except for major corporations.  Bookstores can use all the tax breaks possible.  In fact, they should get a tax exemption, much like a charity, as they serve the greater needs of communities and society.

Republicans tend to favor monopolies and big corporations, so don’t expect anything to be done to Amazon.  Further, they favor financial loopholes and technicalities that allow the rich to get richer, so don’t expect anyone in a position of power or influence to suddenly shrink.

When it comes to education, both at the state and federal level, the power is in the hands of Republicans.  Given their policies and past practices, don’t expect education budgets to grow much.  As a result, book purchases by schools may not grow so much either.

Immigration reform is not likely to pass in a Republican Congress.  In fact, our borders might tighten, limiting population growth.  Since many immigrants struggle with learning English, it’s not clear how fever immigrants would hurt book sales, other than the sale of ESL texts.

Perhaps the biggest change to book publishing will come in the content of books published.  Though there always will be books in favor of or against either party and their policies, a change in government leads to either a revisiting of old issues or the discussion of new ones.  Such change is good for the industry.

Library budgets tend to get cut – or growth is limited -- when Republicans are in power.  All things unrelated to police, military or church are not embraced by Republican rulers.  Don’t look for big growth in libraries, which means publishers will be limited in library sales.

Looking beyond the book world, what will a Republican revolution look like?  It’s too early to say, but one thing is clear, it will lead to a Democratic revolution one day.  That’s just the natural cycle of politics.  The country gets fed up with one party, and then switches to the other.  Sometimes it splits the government in half and gridlock ensues.  The next two years will definitely see some changes – and then before you know it, all we’ll hear about is 2016 and the race for the Oval Office.  Which will lead to new candidates – and their books detailing their visions.  Are you lining up outside your bookstore for any of these books?

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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 © 2014

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