Monday, March 12, 2007

Shortsighted governor slashes books budget

Book promotion presumes that all readers -- sighted and vision-impaired -- will have access to books. But if the governor of Massachusetts has his way, several "talking books" programs in the state will be downsized as a way of economizing. As Boston Herald columnist Peter Gelzinis points out in his column today, it can cost twenty-five dollars to buy a book on CD. Therefore, many vision-impaired people depend on free audio books, newspapers, and magazines.

With an overall budget of $26.7 billion budget, does Massachusetts really want to lessen its citizens' access to reading materials just to save a couple hundred thousand dollars?

From his office, Massachusetts' governor Deval Patrick practically can walk to Harvard University, MIT, Tufts, and so many other institutions of higher learning. You can't walk down a Cambridge, Massaschusetts street on any average afternoon without bumping into at least a few authors. Sure, all those authors dream about fabulous distribution and wonderful book promotion campaigns, and publishers, distributors, and book publicists can help them with all of that.

But will their books be available for everybody? If Governor Patrick has his way, perhaps not for much longer.