It seems that every cable television or social media interview starts with the promotion of a new book written by the host or the person being interviewed; dozens and dozens them every month. Where are all these “authors” coming from and why should we buy their books?
Often the topics are selected from the hot topics of the moment. These books have the shelf life of a freshly baked bagel – about a day. They are full of obvious bias guaranteed to appeal to those who follow some cable or social media outlet. They are meant for readers with a pre-existing mindset on politics, climate change, healthcare, religion and abortion. These books serve to reinforce pre-existing beliefs. Reading them is unlikely to bring about learning or a change in the reader’s point of view. That is not the objective. These “authors” are seeking as many dollars as they can grab and some notoriety.
Many of these self-promoting “authors” have likely never written a book before. Many, perhaps most, will never write another one. These books are written in haste so the purchaser should not expect them to be great reading. At twenty to thirty dollars, they are no bargain either.
Writing a book that is worth reading requires months or even years to research and write. Real books are written by open-minded authors who seek professional editing. They don’t have assurance in advance that the book will be published or promoted. The New York Times will not hype them. There will be no huge advance money often given to celebrity writers. No interviews on a cable television network are likely. There is nothing certain, cheap or easy about the process.
Fact: Every year an estimated three hundred thousand titles are published in the US. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Books_published_per_country_per_year
Result: With such a huge number, finding a truly memorable book is like finding a diamond in the sand at the beach; hard to do, indeed.
Fact: US annual book sales total over ten billion dollars. However, that figure is down from over fifteen billion as recently as 2010. https://www.statista.com/statistics/197710/annual-book-store-sales-in-the-us-since-1992/
Result: There are many reasons for this dramatic drop in book purchases. They include the time we spend on the Internet and our social media distractions.
But there is something else going on. Those who do read are tired of poorly written books. Good authors are discouraged. Where is all this taking us?