September 5, 2006
Richard and Judy and Richard Charkin
I have mentioned Richard Charkin before. He is the chief executive of MacMillan, the publishers, a notable blogger and an old friend of many years. He is also a wise bloke whose views and judgment I respect. I've also said that I wished senior publishers would understand not only the problems of public libraries (which are not about the discounts of supply but about the terrible lack of books) but also the vital role they (senior executives of publishing houses) should play in persuading the public and the Government to put things right. Bill Gates advocates the use of computers: publishers should do the same for books.
Richard has been listening and, on his blog yesterday, he came up trumps and I am extremely grateful to him - this is the way:
"At a dinner last night I was asked what the successful British TV show, Richard and Judy, could do to encourage even more new writing and enjoyment of literature. Their book club has been enormously successful in every way and it was really hard to see how they could do better what they already do. But there is one thing. They could invite their millions of viewers to visit their local public library and demand that the library stocks more books, particularly those by new authors. Libraries seem to have been hijacked by some politicians as out-reach centres or IT retraining camps. Libraries are there for readers and for books. Richard and Judy could be a huge force for good if they marshalled their troops accordingly. They could start by asking how much the library service has spent on management consultants, PwC, compared with their book purchasing budget over the last few years. Libraries are very definitely open access (see above) but there's no point having open access if the choice of books is limited and inappropriate."
Posted by Perkins at September 5, 2006 5:32 PM
What a simply brilliant idea. The fact that so many people rush out to buy books recommended by Richard and Judy just shows what a thirst for reading is out there. If they could now encourage more visitors to go to their libraries that would be even better. Want to start a petition? Book sellers might not like it though if, instead of buying, readers borrow......
Posted by: elaine at September 5, 2006 8:28 PM
I don't think any book seller would object at all. It's always been everyone's experience that libraries add to readership rather than take away sales.
Posted by: Tim Coates at September 5, 2006 9:14 PM
In that case.....??? Let the letter writing begin
Posted by: Elaine at September 6, 2006 10:43 AM