Yes, Virginia, the economy isn't just in the toilet - it's already in the sewer. So it comes as no surprise that the publishing and e-publishing industries are circling the drain. Will they go the way of the job market, the housing market and the credit market? Not if we can help it. But can we?
Most of us don't have the ability or the resources to hire a bunch of folks. We can't even save them from the scary place after the unemployment benefits run out. We can't buy a hundred houses or donate enough money so that the banks and credit card companies stop acting like Chicken Little. There are so many really big things we can't do, can't help or can't stop that we lose site of one really, really ENORMOUS thing we can do, we can help, we can stop.
We can save publishing and e-publishing.
Yes, you and I and all of the regular average folks like us can save the industry that means so much, that has given us so much. Who hasn't sat in the waiting room of a doctor's office or by or in a hospital bed and read a book or an e-book to will away the worry? We've all given friends or family a small inspirational book or two about overcoming grief, suicide, addiction or debt. Haven't we all gotten up during the night to read a few pages from a book to chase away the fears and doubts that keep us from sleep or invade our dreams? Just think about all the things the words written by others have meant in your life.
I write romance because that's what takes me out of my world and inspires me to enjoy or create another world, another place. The books I read and those I write have always included second chances that led to happy endings. When has that ever mattered more than today? The news, the blogs, and even the water cooler conversations today are all about poor Bob who lost his job or Jane's family who just got served with foreclosure pleadings. If we let in too much of that negativity, then it begins to seep into our blood stream until it finds its dastardly way to our spirit. Once there, the bleak black void will eat away at the edges until it's destroyed the seat of our hopes and dreams. Soon it will convince us that nothing is worth trying for, believing in or battling to save.
This year lots of families can't afford their usual trip to the mountains or the beach. But all of us can afford to buy a book that will take us to Paris or Tahiti or Mars. Not only can we afford that book, we must consider it not so much an indulgence as an act of protest. Whatever the rest of the economy and the bleak prognosticators throw at us, they can't destroy the spirit that allows us to believe we can survive, we can overcome. They can't destroy our hope if we don't wave the white flag and surrender it without a battle.
If every person who has ever gotten joy, hope, belief or renewal from the written word just buys one book or one e-book a week, then the industry that's fed our spirits can survive. And when we have a better week, instead of going to a movie, we can buy a second book or a third. Come on now, we all know whatever entertainment we get from the movie will fade mighty fast. But we'll dig out those books time and time again. The books and e-books that build your spirit, bolster your hope and make you believe in happy endings this month can do it again next month and next year.
Yes, the economy has already circled the drain, gone down it and now lurks in the sewer, hoping it is recycled rather than washed out to sea. And yes, the publishing and the e-publishing industries are now circling that drain. But it's not inevitable that the book and e-book industries go the way of the rest of the business world.
Some things are still worth fighting for, and by God, I, for one, find books and e-books to be amongst the things I refuse to lose.
We can be the stopper and plug the drain, one book purchase at a time.