Saturday, July 11, 2015
What Should Be Book Publishing’s Slogan?
These words ran across the width of a narrow-bodied, young woman’s T-shirt. I observed her at a local Starbucks. She had the look of a dancer – tall, slender, firm. She wore her vision and mission on her shirt, telling everyone who she is and what she lives for.
It’s the mantra of those serving in the armed forces of America. Again, a simple slogan of three words seems to sum up their existence.
Teams, cities, and companies have catchy, all-encompassing slogans, nicknames, or taglines that manage to capture the essence of what they’re about. Look at these, for instance:
Amazon: The world’s biggest online retailer.
New York Times: All the news that’s fit to print.
Florida: The Sunshine State.
Burger King: Have it your way.
All of these mottos will live long after our time on this planet.
So what does the book industry have as a slogan? Can’t guess, can you? That’s because there’s nothing, absolutely nothing. How can it be that an industry built around words can’t string a few together to inspire people to love books?
There should be a slogan that summarizes the attraction and appeal of books and it should be adopted by all book entities – retailers, libraries, publishers, authors, literary groups, First Amendment defenders, and most importantly, by our readers.
So what should the slogan be? Let’s brainstorm. Perhaps start with universal feelings about books:
Books transfer knowledge and share information.
They should be accessible to everyone, anywhere, anytime.
Books capture history or create new worlds that inspire one’s imagination.
Books can change lives, transform our thinking, unite us, and help us grow – individually and collectively.
Books reflect who we are – and who we were – and whom we hope to become.
They record life around us, and give birth to lives unlived.
We read to learn, to be entertained, to be inspired, to be enlightened, to be challenged, and to be exposed to ideas, facts, events, and imaginations we otherwise could not access.
So what words would capture all of that?
Maybe we can’t reduce all books to a simple slogan, but maybe it’s something like this:
Read. Write. Share.
Society’s building blocks are books.
Life’s an open book.
Read to dream; dream to write; live your dreams.
What are you reading?
Perhaps slogans need to be tied to specific groups.
Bookstores: The world’s at your fingertips OR, Buy books, save minds.
Libraries: Come “check out” life OR, Borrow books and lend ideas.
Literacy: Reading is a right OR, Books are the currency of life.
Free Speech: Stand by the books that speak for you OR, Practice good citizenship and read a book.
Authors: Writing life’s wrongs and shortcomings with books OR, The road to happiness is paved with books.
Publishers: Making the world a better place through books OR Books shape, save, and challenge the world.
I’m sure if we gave it some thought we’d come up with something that resonates with many of us. Whatever it turns out to be, we need that slogan crafted, promoted, and referenced often. The book industry – and world – depend on it.
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