Books

05 October 2014

Books and Book Shops


Once upon a time book shops were quite ordinary. There were no glossy posters screaming at us to buy the latest best seller - in fact, the word best seller was not part of the language - no shelves of brightly bound books where seductive artwork tried to wrest our attention away from the actual writing within the book, and no tables, positioned right at the entrance to the shop, piled high with the remnants of last week's best sellers. Book covers were plain, and rarely did they give any indication of what the book itself might be about. The book itself was the main player - if it was good, people bought it; if it was not good, then it eventually disappeared.
The book is no longer the main player. Everything now revolves around that one word marketing, with the glitz not always the sign of a great book. The need for profit has elbowed itself to the top of the pyramid; 'greatness' is relative only to the number of copies that can be sold in a certain period of time. Like most other things in our society, books have become a consumer item with a use-by-date.
Whereas the book was once able to 'talk for itself', the voice now belongs to a marketer whose main ambition is to sell more books and make more money.