Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Scary stuff.

When the Wall Street Journal publishes an article called "Booksellers See Savior in 'Symbol,'" that's scary stuff. Why do booksellers need a savior, wonders this book publicist? Have booksellers so hurt by the recession and the evolution to ebooks that they'll only survive if one book sells phenomenally well?

Typically, I'd say that the article's headline is hyperbolic, but typically, the Wall Street Journal is one of the publications that's not guilty of exaggeration.

The WSJ is arguing that, because of all the book publicity that Dan Brown's latest work has already received, and will continue to receive, that it's poised to sell well enough through the holiday season to keep booksellers on track. Really? Dan Brown is that important to the survival of the bookselling industry?

Hmm...that is scary stuff, indeed. No single book (or publisher, by the way) should have life-and-death power over booksellers. Also, it goes without saying that no single book, publisher, or author should have that might control over the future of the publishing industry. The publishing industry is made up of too many authors, publishers, books, book publicists, editors, designers, marketers, distributors, wholesalers, and booksellers -- and readers -- to let one particular project determine the future of the whole world of books. At least, that's what I've always believed and experienced. Perhaps the Wall Street Journal is onto something...but -- with all due respect -- I hope that, just this once, it's wrong.