What if a coming event was so devastating that only a handful of books could survive? Never mind what the cataclysmic event is – whether war, disease, alien invasion, asteroid, energy void, famine, drought, robot takeover (take your pick) – all that you need to know is some kind of mass destruction disrupts or destroys people, property, and life as we know it. You have the resources to safely store and preserve only a thousand books. Which ones would you choose?
Before you answer, think about why you’d choose such books. Remember, by choosing these 1,000 books you will never again see the millions of books that exist today – unless future generations start to write them.
Maybe it would be a good thing to start over. Sure, we’d lose so much knowledge, history and aspects of the known and imagined world, but we’d also get a chance to dream new, to start fresh, and to build on a new body of language. What seems unimaginable may actually be refreshing.
Would we save only non-fiction books, as they teach us how to function, from science and construction to health and governance? Would we seek to preserve history – or let it go? Would we use precious books on things we could potentially recreate, such as novels? How many books do we really wish we could have that would minimally satisfy society’s needs?
We’d have to consider saving books that we never read or knew existed. We’d have to consider books in different languages and those that concern the people of 200 countries and various cultures and faiths. We’d need to consider books that address every phase of life – from infants to seniors. We’d need books to teach our youth all that they’d need to go on to make their imprint on this world. Certainly, a thousand books is an impossible amount to work with, but that is what you have to work with.
Before we go on further exploring this science-fiction scenario, let’s apply it to our world today. Though there are millions of books in existence, there are gaps in what’s needed and in what today’s reader wants. Take the same approach to the world-is-coming-to-an-end scenario and apply it to today’s real world. Which books should be written now and which ones would fill a void? Which ones would replace or add to existing books?
Are your thinking caps going? Do you see the books not yet written that you could pen? Can you see books that exist but are outdated or insufficient and need replacing?
See the world as it could be.
Now make it so.
Writers have a vision for society. Let’s use that ability to survey the market landscape and produce the books that people really need or want.
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. 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
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