When one discusses books, you have to wonder if anything ever gets resolved. The world changes and different players come into the picture, but when it comes to the book world, many of the big issues of 30 or 50 years ago are still debated today.
Look, for example, at these issues:
· How does one get published?
· How does a book become a best-seller?
· How do we increase the literacy rate?
· Why do books still get banned?
· How do books preserve the English language?
· Is free speech being silenced?
· Will bookstores survive?
· Are libraries needed?
· How do we have more gender/faith/race/ethnic diverslty at major book publishers and in the books that are published?
· Which are the best books to read?
· What is the best format to consume a book?
These questions were asked in the 1990’s and 1970’s. They are still being asked today. Why? Because anything that’s important will stay with us generations and get examined, debated, and embraced. We see this in sports, politics, and business. Why not books?
Let’s examine these issues further:
How To Get Published
Many writers still seek to break through the gatekeepers and crack the industry’s elite publisher code. Despite the easy access of self-publishing, which is embraced by a ton of writers, many authors still seek the validation and rewards of landing a traditional book publisher.
How To Become A Best-Seller
With more books published than ever before, where each day provides over 5,000 new titles, competition is fierce to hit a best-seller list, no matter the list or one’s place on it.
Sure, more people attend college and get advanced degrees, but this nation still has some 30 million illiterates. That’s about 1 in 11 citizens. The number has improved, but it needs to be obliterated.
You may feel like anyone can get any book now that there are new ways to print and sell a book. Technically, that’s true. The government is not banning anything, but cancel culture, school bans, and libraries that refuse to carry certain books are a continued reminder that no book is safe.
The English Language
Too many times we see our language being bastardized. It used to be misspellings and punctuation errors that threatened our books. Now it’s emojis as words, Spanglsih, Ebonics, new web-created words, social media speak, and text-written shorthand. We are screwed.
Free speech is always under threat. It could be by the government or from social media platforms, or from domestic terrorist threats from the Woke left to the oppressive Moral Majority on the right. Be aware of Orwellian threats from all sides.
Indies were supposed to die when book chains exploded. Then all stores were to disappear due to online sales and digital books. Well, they are still here!
They always suffer a lack of funds. Then with the advent of the Internet in the 90’s, many wonder if libraries will stick and around. Re-imagined as community centers, they now provide information services. Our libraries still remain under threat but look to be here for the long-term.
The publishing industry is largely white --look at libraries, bookstore owners, and those who work at the Big 5. They also are run mostly by women. This all impacts which books get greenlit, marketed, and read. It consistently is a challenge.
Debates always rage as to what is a great book -- now or of all-time. It’s getting harder for people to agree on anything -- too many books are out there, people’s tastes change, and too many classics are being squeezed out by Woke nut jobs because white guys wrote them. So what? These books are still great.
People used to choose between hardcover, trade paperback, and mass market books. Now, it’s a choice between paper, e-book, and audio. Choose to consume context however you wish.
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About Brian Feinblum
Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2023. 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 award-winning blog has generated over 3.3 million pageviews. With 4,400+ posts over the past dozen years, it 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 www.WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 years 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, Todd Duncan, Susan RoAne, John C. Maxwell, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, Independent Book Publishers Association Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, APEX, 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: www.linkedin.com/in/brianfeinblum.