Friday, April 3, 2009

A difficult challenge

The UK's Booksellers Association and Publishers Association are working on an industry-wide initiative campaign to promote the value of reading. It's a devilishly difficult task. Many children associate books and reading with school. Compared to the vibrant, social, interactive world of online games - in which you can 'meet' on screen in the virtual playground - children, with some justification, see books as solitary and static.

If someone ask you what you did on Saturday night which sounds more interesting: "I read a book". "We went to the movies." One is a solitary activity; the other is an event.

Somehow the book trade needs to capture the 'coolness' of books - the idea that books make you cool, interesting, attractive, good company. The trouble with that, though, is that it smacks of 'something being good for you' - it's too teacherly, too prescriptive.

But here's a slogan for libraries: 'Three for two? How about five for nothing?'

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