Thursday, December 11, 2008

And One More

This showed up in my inbox today. Seems reasonable to me. :)

I've been talking to booksellers lately who report that times are hard. And local booksellers aren't known for vast reserves of capital, so a serious dip in sales can be devastating. Booksellers don't lose enough money, however, to receive congressional attention. A government bailout isn't in the cards.

We don't want bookstores to die. Authors need them, and so do neighborhoods. So let's mount a book-buying splurge. Get your friends together, go to your local bookstore and have a book-buying party. Buy the rest of your Christmas presents, but that's just for starters. Clear out the mysteries, wrap up the histories, beam up the science fiction! Round up the westerns, go crazy for self-help, say yes to the university press books! Get a load of those coffee-table books, fatten up on slim volumes of verse, and take a chance on romance!

There will be birthdays in the next twelve months; books keep well; they're easy to wrap: buy those books now. Buy replacements for any books looking raggedy on your shelves. Stockpile children's books as gifts for friends who look like they may eventually give birth. Hold off on the flat-screen TV and the GPS (they'll be cheaper after Christmas) and buy many, many books. Then tell the grateful booksellers, who by this time will be hanging onto your legs begging you to stay and live with their cat in the stockroom: "Got to move on, folks. Got some books to write now. You see...we're the Authors Guild."

Enjoy the holidays.

Roy Blount Jr.
Authors Guild

And in case you were concerned, this followed it shortly thereafter...

The Guild's staff informs me that many of you are writing to ask whether you can forward and post my holiday message encouraging orgiastic book-buying. Yes! Forward! Yes! Post! Sound the clarion call to every corner of the Internet: Hang in there, bookstores! We're coming! And we're coming to buy! To buy what? To buy books! Gimme a B! B! Gimme an O! O! Gimme another O! Another O! Gimme a K! K! Gimme an S! F! No, not an F, an S. We're spelling BOOKS!



'Cause, hey, soldiers need books. Kids need books. Elders need books. Who doesn't need a book, right? Right.

Those are someone named Roy's thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you a bookstore still open in two months!


Hermes said...

But I came for a cup of coffee.

I am anti-print these days. Don't worry, it will pass. But the deification of books over oral tradition has vastly changed us. Not always for the better. I am only now learning how valuable an oral legacy is to a culture.
So I have resolved to read only blogs for a while and seek to enjoy my literacy in a spoken way. You tell Roy that Beowulf was meant to be performed, not read.
I'll buy a bunch of books next year, when I love books again.

LRNs said...

Gah! I can't win. An impassioned plea from "family." Oh no, what do I do? As part of a 2-year effort to simplify our lives, we started cutting the number of books, comicbooks & dvd's we bought and rediscovered the library. We're heavy readers and our book budget was insane. I even boxed up 60-70% of our huge book collection to donate to the library.

This isn't to say we're not buying books anymore, we're just being more selective (long before the downturn.)

To make me feel even more guilty, the last book I bought, Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book (for Slick's birthday) was from Amazon. Does that count?

Of course, I don't know any local "small" booksellers. Everything around here is bigbox. Does that count?

Cam Pike said...

I will sound the bell. Despite my blog's love of sport and watching sport TV, you know I love books! I promise to try and buy my books from the local sellers (unless I have a gift card...then you really can't blame we going to B&N).

I love browsing small book stores sometimes, you find some of the greatest stuff there. Obscure titles or authors you never would have seen in B&N or Borders.

kimber said...

Now that's a rallying cry I can get behind. With your permission, BP, I'd like to forward this on to my own writing guild.

BostonPobble said...

GOML! ~ Ah, not only will I tell that to Roy but I will put my bck to yours and fight anyone who says otherwise. The coffee will be on next time, I promise.

Lrns ~ Hm. Yes, I see the dilemma. How about this: you're "related" to an author. Maybe this buys you an out...?

Cam Pike ~ I know you the point you are getting tagged here soon, in spite of the sportsy nature of your blog.

Wolfgrrrl ~ Please do! Yes! Forward away. Gimme a B!

Rose said...

I am going to email this to all my reading friends, and book clubs. Books are the most reasonable and inexpensive gift to give. I support him in enouraging people to go buy books! For you and me both Pobble.

Anonymous said...

I hate to be the bearer of bad news here but I think this should be pointed out.

One of the biggest issues this society faces (and part of the reason that bookstores aren't faring as well) is that we're a society that in general doesn't like to read.

You're lucky to get someone to read words on the internet but when it comes to books or newspapers not so much.

Intellectualism and the pursuit thereof is equated with elitism and that's what's tragic. I personally would do all of my holiday shopping in a bookstore and buy books for my loved ones but all but maybe one or two people would read.

In all honesty, I'm surprised bookstores have managed this long. I guess it's a testament to the fact that those of us who are readers are voracious ones at that.

I guess the best way to save bookstores is to start a campagin to get people to read. It goes without saying but we'd have fewer problems if people educated themselves or challenged themselves through the arts and literature. I know, I know, I'm preaching to the choir here.

But here's to intellectuals and elitists.