Literacy Lament

My last post was about a particular publishing scam for selling more textbooks. There are other publishing quirks that make me sad, but about which I will not rant. These quirks reflect the age and not the morality or ethics of the publishers.

Many times when a book is published and becomes a big hit (goes viral? can books go viral? maybe not) often there are spin-off publications. Recently a devotional/reflection/self-help book hit the New York Times best-seller list. Now there are related books including a devotional and a gift book. Now the original book is not a difficult read, nor is it long and complicated. The gift book is an excerpt version of the original book. Excerpts. The original book was released a year ago. Aren’t excerpts versions for classics? And doesn’t an excerpts version mean maybe people are intrigued by the book but they don’t want to read the whole thing? It all seems pretty over the top and also a bit condescending. Aren’t book-buyers more discriminating than that? Aren’t people more discriminating than that? Maybe not, but one can hope.

I sort of get that not everyone has a book on the go all the time. Sort of. I usually have about five on the go and one on my person at all times in case of any reading opportunity, so I’m not sure I really get people who don’t read. But surely even if you don’t read all the time you can gradually push through a small book that is not densely written or difficult? Are we becoming so post-literate? Really? Or am I making a big deal out of nothing?

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