Thursday, July 3, 2008

Why are so many books published each year?

Have you ever thought why at a time when people have so little time to read books publishers keep increasing their output?

I think books are being published because more and more people want to write them!

There was a time when there was one book (The Bible) and millions of readers. Then gradually we ended up with more choice of reading material and smaller readership for each publication. However, I feel there has been a fundamental shift of focus from readership to authorship.

When we read other people's writing it allows us to see the world through their perception. In this way we are able to feel what it is like to be the "other" person.

If reading is a window to the world, I think writing is a window to our own soul. When we write we reflect on our own perceptions and are able to feel what it is like to be who we are.

So when the primary purpose of writing is self-realisation then the objective is met through the quality of the understanding reached by the author irrespective of the size of the readership.

The advent of cheaper publishing and distribution methods via the Internet has made the shift of emphases in favour of authorship to be more profound.

The Observer’s retiring literary editor, Robert McCrum on 25 May 2008 wrote that “… while this has been the decade in which millions have found a voice through the internet, only a minority has discovered an audience. Self-expression has been democratised, but books and writers still face that age-old struggle to achieve a readership”.