A unique blog dedicated to covering the worlds of book publishing and the news media, revealing creative ideas, practical strategies, interesting stories, and provocative opinions. Free speech, literacy, and great books are also discussed. Along the way, discover savvy but entertaining insights on book marketing, public relations, branding, and advertising from a veteran of two decades in the industry of book publishing publicity and marketing.
Saturday, July 16, 2016
Can the Book Industry Afford More Immigrants?
United States was built on immigrants and today it relies on inexpensive labor
from the country’s newest and poorest to fill jobs like lawn care, house
cleaning, and taxi driver. But we pay a
price, as a country, when the immigrants don’t fully assimilate, get educated,
and learn our language. For the book
industry, an increase in English-speaking immigrants would be welcome,
otherwise we have to rethink who comes into our land of freedom and
language becomes a barrier, it impacts not only our economy but our
culture. Diversity and multi-cultural
are great things to have, but only to a point.
If every group becomes a minority there’s no core or cohesion amongst
US is at a peaking point. Though we’ve
had varying levels of immigration at different periods of time, as a percentage of
our population, the foreign-born are surging here. In 1970, 4.7% of Americans, were born
elsewhere. In 2010 that nearly tripled
to 12.9% of the country – or 40 million people.
don’t like immigrants because they say they threaten jobs for the locals,
because they bring crime or terrorism, or because they ghettoize an area and
turn it into another country. But
immigrants have also contributed to the nation’s growth and help shape the ever-changing
image of America.
the first year the Census measured foreigners, 9.7% of Americans were born
elsewhere. By 1880 that share jumped to
in eight Americans comes from somewhere else.
But in NYC, every third person hails came from another country. Queens shows that half of its residents are
foreign-born and there’s a one-mile section where 150 languages are
spoken. How can we sell English-language
books to all of these foreigners? How do
these people – and their American-born progeny – immerse themselves into an
American culture that is so mixed and diverse that its foundation is an
undefined moving target?
set of my grandparents and one set of great grandparents emigrated here from
Europe, primarily Russia and Poland. I
can’t be a hypocrite and say close our borders.
But I would suggest, where possible, we seek to let in those who are
educated in English. It will just make
life easier for all and instead of burdening our education system with English-illiterate masses, we can focus on assimilation.
book industry needs more consumers and for more of them to consume greater
quantities of books. If foreigners don’t
speak our language, they can’t buy our books. So now this pits two principles
against one another. We want diversity and
to give the opportunity of the American Dream to more people, but by doing so
we may be weakening or eroding our native culture, economy, and book industry.
the answer can be worked out in the form of a trade-off. If we can step up our ability to export
English books and to teach English to more people overseas, we’ll gain book
readers and consumers. Perhaps the U.S. should instruct potential
immigrants that their odds of entry increase if they show proficiency in our
experts, politicians, and businesses have grappled with this issue for decades,
no centuries, and the debate won’t end anytime soon nor end in a way that will