It is easy to find articles that put forth the doom and gloom of a failing publishing industry, of closing bookstores, of declining readership and of the lost souls of writers desperate for sales. While these cries echo the crisis/panic approach to all things that seems to be the media norm now, there are always some nuggets of truth hidden in the dramatic claims.
Publishing companies have had to navigate the waters of the digital age and there were some rough currents along the way. And, there is news again this week of another seemingly successful publisher closing down. But, many have found a balance between offering digital and hard copy and are doing well. The dearth of independent bookstores is slowly being refilled with a small resurgence of demand for more intimate and personal environments away from the conglomerate chains. If these things are true, then readership must be on the upswing and, by default, authors beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel.
But, we must not be complacent, we lovers of the written word. We must support the industry if we want to have access to a wide selection of affordable reading material. How? First of all, buy books and read. Then, buy more books and read. Repeat.
What else? Tell people about what you are reading. If you love a book, say so. Get on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, whatever your choice of media, and tell people about the book. Comfortable expressing your opinion in written form? Review it…on a blog, on Goodreads, on Amazon…wherever you can. (Reviews, on online bookselling sites, put those books on the radar and up their rankings for searches.) If you belong to online forums, chat it up. Or join a live or online book club and share it. Tell your local bookstore how much you enjoyed it. If they hear that enough times, they'll start recommending it. Speak to your local librarians. They can support through purchasing and recommending.
And, if you are so inclined, reach out to the authors and let them know you enjoyed their books. Most have websites, Facebook and/or Twitter feeds. Yes, they need to put food on their tables, but who doesn't like to be told they've done a good job?
I try to do these things as much as possible. I share, I praise and I promote. Not because I write, but because I read. There is nothing sweeter than curling up with a good book. I am doing my part to ensure that always remains a possibility.