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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Economy's Effect on Books and a Little Rescheduling

Ok not a lot of input which leads me to believe I've got a lot of busy people out there. I went with my gut and decided to move the book discussion for On Chesil Beach just one day forward to Thursday. We won't open book four until Friday. This will give us a little more breathing room on Gang Leader and getting caught up.

By the way, for those of you who haven't started Gang Leader yet, I've read in about 3 chapters and so far, it is not a disappointment. I'm enjoying the candor and the look at a part of society that rarely gets noticed or told. Pretty fascinating stuff.


I've been pondering the questions of books and their marketable sustenance lately. For years now, articles have been written about the demise of the book, how and when it will happen. Most people in the industry disregard this as alarmist and extreme. I think they are probably right. And, given the current financial climate, I'm wondering now if there could be a boon in the near future for books as entertainment.

Think about this: the average family already cannot afford tickets to sporting events and movies. Given that those used to be the 'great American' past-times, what do we have left? Now take an economy wherein many families with children are right now pulling the budgets in tight to cover gas and food. But, when the country is in financial distress, they look to entertainment to bring their spirits up. So you tell me, do you think these ingredients could add up to a surge book sales and reading? I'm wondering if it might. Books remain an inexpensive entertainment, which any family can do together.

Financial information on the book industry would tell me otherwise. And of course, if you're going to use books as entertainment, there is the library. There you have the arguments (quite strong ones too) against my idea. Still, if we headed down a road of deep financial strife, I wonder if people would consider books as an inexpensive entertainment.


Bob said...

I've always considered books as alternative entertainment. and inexpensive, especially when I can go to a used book sale and buy a bag of books for $5.00.

e-books are still new enough I don't think printed media are in trouble - yet. It just isn't the same, reading a screen vs. holding a book, turning the pages. there's something about the smell of an old book - the smell of knowledge.

Anonymous said...

I don't buy very many books. I get them at the library if I can. I buy it used if I can't live without it. I give away a lot of the books I buy because I have too much stuff.

I don't think that families who are not reading together now will start due to the economy. It doesn't seem to me that there are very many families out there who even do "(board) game night," let alone gather around and read aloud. More's the pity...

I think physical books are far from disappearing. I don't like to read online that much.

Anonymous said...

PS. I'm skipping Gang Leader because I couldn't get it.

meno said...

I have idly thought about getting a Kindle reading device. But i really wonder if i would like it. I need to borrow one.

Maggie said...

Bob, I so agree with you. The act of reading is such an intimate and enjoyable experience, I cannot see doing it with electronic devices. Though I admit I have consdered playing with a kindle, but I don't think it could draw me in - for one thing because flipping back several pages to re-read something could be pretty frustrating with the device, so I've heard.

De, you know, you are right. I suppose if people weren't into books it wouldn't really change. They will always find something else out there to occupy their time. TV, video games, DVD's for instance all are fairly cheap as well. Does that mean that there are different kinds of people out there? The bookies and the non-bookies? As for game night, I know what you mean! We love playing games with the kids, it's such a great interactive activity as opposed to watching TV or movies (which is what we do) wherein we don't even talk to each other. The buyer/borrower thing is a big one for a lot of people. I'm a buyer mainly because I just love books - pretty much the only thing I collect. But this has been compounded by living in French society where the English library is downtown, quite a drive and makes this lazy girl more inclined to order books online. Shameful I know. Thanks for the note on the Gang Leader book.

Meno, I heard a podcast by NPR which tried it out, listing the pros and cons according to them. You could check that out here: Taking Kindle to the Pool. For the price, I'd say borrowing one is a great idea. Get a feel for it before you spend the money and then decide. And then let us know what you thought.