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.