Thursday, March 1, 2018

Will The Book World Help Stop Gun Violence?

You hear about gun violence daily, from robberies gone bad to deadly domestic violence. We bare witness to mass-shooting tragedies all too frequently, from Las Vegas to Parkland.  The majority of the country -- including members of the NRA -- say they are for tighter gun control laws, ranging from assault-rifle restrictions, age requirements, and tighter background checks.  But it seems that those in power, both in Congress and at many state levels, do little or nothing.  But there are signs of hope and perhaps the book industry can lead the way.

In terms of hope, we see a youth movement taking the lead on this. Our youngest souls are speaking out and uniting against the senseless carnage, demanding that adults finally take responsibility for the mess.  Further, corporations like Delta, finally are exercising their muscle not just to lobby for tax breaks or charge consumers extra for things it used to provide for free, but to pull out its funding of discounts or partnerships with the NRA.  

Taking it a step further, Dick’s Sporting Goods, one of the biggest arms dealers in the nation, declared it will no longer sell automatic rifles to anyone and will require purchasers of any gun to be 21 or older, regardless of the legal age minimum in any state or jurisdiction.  Perhaps if more individuals, companies, groups, politicians, celebrities, and business leaders step forward we will truly see positive change.

But one industry that seems to be quiet in all of this is the book publishing industry.  Here are some things that could be done by our nation’s leading force for creativity, information, and ideas:

Book People Out-GunThe NRA
1.      All organized  book-related groups should make a public statement and feature it prominently on their websites and in their social media and press releases.  The statement should strongly advocate for change in our gun laws and should serve to put pressure on local and national politicians. We have groups that advocate for authors, bookstores, genres, free speech, and publishers – they should speak up, from PEN, BEA, and PW to ABA, Thrillerfest, BISG, and AAP.  Libraries and local book clubs should also speak out.

Publish Anti-Violence Books
2.      More books pushing an anti-gun agenda should be published and promoted. Let’s see more ads for such books.  Let’s see huge discounts for them, to spark sales and a subsequent debate on the issue.

Use The Power Of The Press
3.      Publishers should dedicate a page in every book, regardless of the subject matter, to promote an anti-gun, violent-free nation.  Books can reach our young, old and all in between, in every state, of every race, religion, sexual identity, size, shape, class, and status. Let's use our resources and voices to serve and influence the greater good.

Form A PAC: Put Money Behind Your Words
4.      Authors, bookstores and publishers should officially form a PAC that outspends the NRA and use it to fund the support of an anti-gun agenda.

Call Upon Your Creativity
5.      What we need, more than money or better politicians, is better ideas to resolve the gun issue. Our authors are brilliant thinkers. Can they dedicate a day or an hour to come up with a better solution than exists now?

It is time to make America great again, with fewer guns and more controls in place for those who own or seek them.  If mental health needs to be supported, then fund it.  If more training is needed, implement it.  If restrictions are needed as to what type of gun and how many guns one can own, put them in place.  Beef up security within reason. Let’s take reasonable steps to reduce the violence and bring sanity back.  

I do see a hopeful sign in a story from Publishers Weekly yesterday, where some in the children's book community are looking to get involved in the March 24 rally. We should all follow suit. here's the article:

Book industry, will you help, maybe even lead the way?  

Don’t be silent when words and actions are needed the most.


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource."

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