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Monday, December 26, 2005

Is fiction dead?

That's the question posed by an article in CBC which reports that fiction sales are down globally. What's to blame?

Blame the war in Iraq, which has fuelled readers’ appetites for political non-fiction. Blame the new publishing industry business model, in which big blockbuster novels like The DaVinci Code and The Historian, dominate bookstore shelves and marketing budgets, sucking up a disproportionate share of attention. Blame publishers who sink too much money into these titles, forsaking more literary-minded books. Blame Oprah’s Book Club for abandoning contemporary fiction. Just don’t blame the writers, because this was a fine year for fiction.

I agree wholeheartedly about the inordinate attention and marketing monies parceled out to only a handful of books instead of being spread around equitably. Potential readers don't get to know what's really out there without good marketing. However, I won't blame Oprah for the lack of commercial book sales; if her readers won't take the initiative to find and read fiction on their own, then they aren't true least, of fictional works. Some of these readers would probably do better spending their monies on books with gardening tips or finding Mr. Right. Fiction is for those who are seeking something outside their lives, outside themselves - readers who want to be transported, entertained, awed, and yes, even educated.

So, is fiction really dead? Sales may be down, but there will always be fiction readers. Hopefully, when the economy gets better, book sales will rise again. Until then, declarations about fiction's demise are a bit premature.

Sharon Cullars Coffee Talk at 12/26/2005 07:36:00 AM Permanent Link     | | Home


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