HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM BOOKTRUST
Booktrust resolves to be more vocal about the needs of the reader in 2006.
So what should we be speaking out about?
Readers need FREEDOM OF CHOICE and, along with many others, Booktrust has major concerns about Waterstones’ bid to take-over Ottakar’s. We are supportive of initiatives like the i-2-i project being developed by Snow Books which aim to make it easier for independent presses to sell through independent bookshops. We want a diversity of booksellers selling a diversity of books to an ever expanding diversity of readers. Do you think that a monopoly on the highstreet leads to limited choices for readers?
We welcome the ways in which the web has opened up access to ideas, made it easier to keep texts in circulation, and become such a powerful means to sell books across the globe. Much as we like books made of paper, the e-book, print on demand and on-line literature are exciting developments which we welcome. Our aim isn’t to protect the status quo of the book world, but to ensure that future readers retain choice and quality. Do you think they will?
Readers and writers need FREEDOM OF SPEECH and Booktrust wholeheartedly condemns the actions of the Turkish Government in trying author Orhan Pamuk for speaking out about the deaths of Kurds and Armenians under Article 301 of a new Turkish Penal Code. Do you think freedom of speech is being restricted in this country too - how can we stop its erosion?
We believe in FREE ACCESS FOR ALL TO BOOKS and see a public library service offering high quality information and imagination services as an essential feature of the increasingly complex landscape of reading. In the era of the the Pod-cast, E-bay and Amazon, highstreet discount wars, bookcrossing and the book group, what do you think of as the centre of your reading life?
FREE THINKING AND IMAGINING FOR ALL!
Functional literacy matters, but an appetite for reading is what we need to survive and thrive in the 21st Century.
From early years, through school and into everyday life, we want to see the growth of a society of creative readers and writers, exploring the world around them through imaginative literature, finding their own words to express their response to what they discover.
We urge schools to adopt the proposed Creative Entitlement developed as part of the recent English 21 consultation (see entry under 'CREATIVE' below).
What are the issues you’d like to see us tackling and how?
THE NATIONAL HEALTH OF BOOKS AND READING
We asked Lynne Patrick, shortlisted for last year's Kim Scott Walwyn Prize for women in publishing, what she considered to be the greatest threats to the health of books and reading in the UK. Here's her response:
"The stock answers are television and computers, but I actually don't think that's the case. TV actually encourages people to read - I gather Jane Austen and Dickens are selling pretty well at the moment! I think I have to say the way a very small proportion of books and authors get a lot of media and bookshop attention at the expense of lower-profile but excellent work by less well known authors. This tends to discourage excellent unpublished writers who keep falling at the final hurdle despite producing high quality work, so the standard of books in general doesn't improve.
Also, I think too many books are published which no one actually reads - cookery books, diet books, not especially well written celebrity autobiographies.
But then I would say that, wouldn't I, since my company specialises in fiction (which is bought to be read!) by authors no one has heard of - yet.
I think Booktrust does some excellent work; long may it continue. Providing admin backup for awards like the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize is an excellent service to publishers and readers alike; and seeing our books listed on your website gave us a real buzz when we started out and everyone else ignored us. Giving small independent publishers an even higher profile might be something you could consider!"
Creme de la Crime
Creme de la Crime: the best in new crime writing
Eamonn, Robert and Claire at Booktrust HQ - Jan 2006