Monday, January 26, 2015
The State of the Union For Books
President Barack Obama issued a passionate State of the Union address that revealed an ambitious agenda, a chance to shape his legacy, and an opportunity for the nation to reflect on where it is and questioned where it's heading. Though he didn't directly mention any new initiatives to help writers or the book publishing industry, I have a few initiatives he could have presented to the watchful eyes and ears of an American public eager to see the nation grow as it moves beyond the shadows of The Great Recession and The Terrorism Era.
While Obama talked about making community college free, which could help to sell more textbooks, eh didn't talk about things that would really boost society, like:
· A tax cut to book publishers
· Allowing people to buy books pre-tax
· Banning tales tax on books
· Giving writers tuition reimbursement for Master of Fine Arts program participation
· Creating a program to provide up to $100 worth of books to those living in poverty each year
· Boosting government budgets for libraries
· Hiring an army of 100,000 literary tutors to help immigrants, children, the unemployed, or those in prison to read and gain the most valuable of all skills
Granted, the State of the Union is just a big speech, full of bluster and chest-thumping, but even so, books should be a part of the national dialogue. We need our top leader to share a vision about the value of books and to support the role they play in a society like ours.
Forget talk of the military, housing, jobs, or the political favorites such as abortion or immigration. President Obama should have appealed to the masses by talking about books. It's a safe area. Who doesn't support reading and learning? Who doesn't benefit from a more literate society?
Okay, so books won't win elections and talking about them is not too sexy. But if we just keep talking about energy, taxes, the environment, ISIS, and the repeat issues of every local, state, and federal election, we'll never get to talking about books.
How about creating a national book club?
Could we declare 2015 the year of the book?
Shall the government fund awards to honor books?
Might the White House want to dedicate a day to meeting with publishing ambassadors and authors who make a difference?
The State of the Union was strong and inspiring, but next time the president of the United States could simply say: Read more 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015