Friday, December 12, 2008

The Economy, The Books, The Bookstores...

Happy Friday, everyone. I was fortunate to have a half-day off of work this afternoon. I was able to run errands, get groceries (having kids and grandkids for dinner tomorrow night) and get home by 3:00 p.m. While a few things are in the oven, I decided to check email and found something interesting in my inbox from another writer. I'm going to post the letter here, as the author shared that permission to forward was granted. I think the subject is important.

We all know that the economy is rotten and it has affected all of us in some way or another. We've had to cut back at my office and let go some staff. It's very difficult. Bookstores, publishers, and authors are feeling the crunch, as well.

I'd been planning to blog about buying books for Christmas and that still is my plan for this weekend. Before doing that, however, I'd like to reprint this letter from Roy Blount, Jr., president of the Author's Guild. His letter follows.

Sent: Thu, 11 Dec 2008 10:20 am
Subject: Subject Message from Roy Blount

I've been talking to booksellers lately who report that times are hard. And local booksellers aren't known for vast reserves of capital, so a serious dip in sales can be devastating. Booksellers don't lose enough money, however, to receive congressional attention. A government bailout isn't in the cards.

We don't want bookstores to die. Authors need them, and so do neighborhoods. So let's mount a book-buying splurge. Get your friends together, go to your local bookstore and have a book-buying party. Buy the rest of your Christmas presents, but that's just for starters. Clear out the mysteries, wrap up the histories, beam up the science fiction! Round up the westerns, go crazy for self-help, say yes to the university press books! Get a load of those coffee-table books, fatten up on slim volumes of verse, and take a chance on romance!

There will be birthdays in the next twelve months; books keep well; they're easy to wrap: buy those books now. Buy replacements for any books looking raggedy on your shelves. Stockpile children's books as gifts for friends who look like they may eventually give birth. Hold off on the flat-screen TV and the GPS (they'll be cheaper after Christmas) and buy many, many books. Then tell the grateful booksellers, who by this time will be hanging onto your legs begging you to stay and live with their cat in the stockroom: "Got to move on, folks. Got some books to write now. You see...we're the Authors Guild."

Enjoy the holidays.

Roy Blount Jr.
President
Authors Guild
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