With all of the book choices available to consumers, are many people reading the same books? Have today’s readers read what a generation ago agreed to be the classics? Probably not, on both fronts.
was talking to my 17-year-old son about Marlon Brando the other day. He had
heard the name but knew nothing about him. I told him about his role in The
Godfather and On The Waterfront, but I realized that
none of it means anything to him. Those movies are several eras removed from
his world. I can’t fault him for focusing his attention on social media,
streaming content, or any of the millions of websites, blogs, and podcasts
circulating out there. That is his world. We are in the third generation of
decentralization, which means fewer things connect and unite us.
The chances of common experiences have greatly decreased. Our recent past may no longer be accepted, understood, or even made aware of to our future generations. We are united by little when our reference points shrink in number and strength.
The first generation of TV had three networks and a few local independent stations. Then came cable and a huge expansion of viewing options. Then came the Internet with an explosion of sources for entertainment and information. Now, social media and streaming are the latest generation of content proliferation. We have reached the point of no return.
The days of 75-100 million people viewing the same show, save for the Super Bowl, are long gone. Few events or shows get even 20 million viewers. Our world is pieced together by a series of micro experiences, just separate, singular moments that rarely connect to, or overlap with, the fractured experiences of others.
This extends to books, too. Ask someone which book has sold the most copies this year and you will not get any consensus. Few can name any of the books atop any of the numerous bestseller lists. Books stay there for shorter periods of time than they used to and the number of copies sold for a bestseller has been shrinking.
Rarely do we see a book sell over a million copies in a calendar year. This means that no book is read by even one percent of all Americans. Think about that.
It is getting to the point that we have so few common reference points that it is as if we don’t speak the same language or use the same math. This is extending to our awareness and understanding of world events, history, and other major areas.
Sure, we watch the same stupid-ass cat videos making the rounds online and we all seem yo know when Prime Day is, but are these the things that now become the fabric of America? With all of this knowledge and experience at our fingertips, are we only going to be united based on the stupidest or most commercial of things?
Ask 10 people which book they are reading. At least half will say “none.” The others will likely give answers that vary from one another. And that is our world today.
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About Brian Feinblum
Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2022. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent. This blog, with over 4,000 posts over the past decade, was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Susan RoAne, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, IBPA, Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult: linkedin.com/in/brianfeinblum.