Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Book ’Em, Danno

Abby Zidle, over at the impeccably titled Hey, There’s A Dead Guy In The Living Room, picks up on an ABC News story about reading habits in the U.S., to wit:
“Did you all see that poll about readers in the U.S.? That 25% of American adults haven’t read a book in the last year? And that the average number of books a single adult reads in a year is four? This is why the publishing industry is forced to cater to blockbusters. It’s simply too dangerous, bottom-line-wise, to trust that brilliant writing will reach enough people. Especially people like this guy, who won’t read fiction. (I’ve got news for you, buddy – lots of movies are fiction, too.)”
Abby? We don’t want to fall out with you, but we’re not so sure that this is a bad news story – when you factor in illiteracy, poverty, access (or otherwise) to books and the time required to read them, 25% of adults not reading a book, and an average of four books per year, aren’t exactly catastrophic figures. Besides, it’s easy for bibliophiles to forget that a book is just one more way of telling a story, and it’s the story that matters, not the method of delivery. Movie fans, theatre-goers, web surfers, tabloid junkies, computer gamers, et al – it’s all about the right words in the right place. If the publishing industry has plateau’d (“The publishing business totalled $35.7 billion in global sales last year, 3 percent more than the previous year, according to the Book Industry Study Group, a trade association. About 3.1 billion books were sold, an increase of less than 1 percent.”), then it’s incumbent on the story-tellers to find a new way of getting through to their potential audience. The customer, after all, is always right. No?