Friday, August 14, 2009

Is the era of the well researched book ending?

You can't help wonder when looking at what gets churned out by some NZ book publishers these days whether all people really want are books of pretty pictures. They are in some ways for the lowest common demoninator, people whose reading level is poor and who respond to images rather than written words. But it's not so simple. It is known that women prefer words and men pictures, which is why most fiction is bought by women. It is also the case that thoroughly researched books on historical, technological and scientific subjects are the exception rather than the norm nowadays in in NZ and this has been the case for quite a few years. People who write books usually do so here for love and not money because in most cases the money is poor: the hourly return for time spent is well below the minimum wage (not that the return for publishers is much better), but there needs to be some money in it. Those who write books about scandals and/or major celebrities can be assured of getting a good recompense from it, but not those who write the type of books which transpress focuses on. This is why the Government should financially assist skilled authors who do, but such help is rarely forthcoming unless, a) they know the right people, b) they are too elevated in the academic world to ignore, or c) they write on topics in accordance with the government politically correct stance of the time.

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