With more than two months to go before Philip Pullman’s long-awaited new novel from the world of His Dark Materials is published, pre-orders have sent La Belle Sauvage flying up bestseller lists.
But with booksellers already slashing the cover price in half, the award-winning author has spoken out about how cheap books devalue the experience of reading, and called for an end to the “pernicious” doctrine of “market fundamentalism” if literary culture is to survive.Well, seems the answer is 'cheap books'.
“It’s easy to think that readers gain a great deal by being able to buy books cheaply. But if a price is unrealistically cheap, it can damage the author’s reputation (or brand, as we say now), and lead to the impression that books are a cheap commodity and reading is an experience that’s not worth very much.”Maybe it isn't? There's thousands upon thousands of available books. They can't all be best sellers.
Maybe some are the equivalent of junk food, some the equivalent of cheap plonk. Isn't it up to the consumer to decide which is which?
He suggested the government should coordinate a search for new ways of working, involving representatives from across the book trade.Oh. Of course. Leave it to the government, they'll sort it out!
Pullman said that he was “not blaming any one of the parties involved in the book trade in particular” for the current situation, because “I want the whole trade to prosper”. Instead, he looked to “a simple villain – the doctrine of market fundamentalism, that the market knows best, and that a free market is the best of all possible states”.Maybe you're right, Phil, 'ol son...
*cancels pre-order of Pullman's new book on Amazon*
That feels better!