!@#$ Authors, Contributing to Social Decay

December 10th, 2004 · 1 Comment
by Booksquare

Before we begin, let us answer the question posted in the sub-head: yes, publishers are really that desperate. Using that as our starting point makes the rest of this little post so much easier. For those who haven’t been paying attention for the past thirty or so years, Christmas has become a gigantic buy-a-thon. Oh, sure, you can have your family traditions and quiet expressions of faith, but it’s all about consumption. For some, this may be news:

Although some of these Christmas tales are worthwhile reads (I always enjoy Fannie Flagg and it was eerie to read one of the last Mississippi-based stories written by Larry Brown), too many of them just add to the increasing commercialization of the holiday. As Melanie Archer…puts it, “More and more, the religious significance of Christmas is being pushed into the background as its gift-giving, mulled-wine-drinking, Christmas-tree-decorating characteristics move steadily forward.” [emphasis ours, not MargoBabe’s or Archer’s]

Also, the rush to cash in on Christmas tends to favor the outwardly sentimental (and often badly written) Christmas books over the more subtle tales of giving and getting.

As decided by our bookclub, mulled wine is merely wine carefully considered before (over)imbibing. Nothing wrong with a little deep thinking. Decorating the tree is a chance to share family memories (yes, the mother is require to put the foil and gift wrapped Dixie cups we made in kindergarten prominently on the tree every year. Also the bizarre purple, white, and blue paper mache lightbulb we made in the third grade.). And we can’t say enough about gift giving — spending time thinking about friends makes us happy.

As to the charges of sentimentality? Oh yeah. Hello. Has our friend MargoBabe not watched holiday-themed television in the past few decades? This is not a new trend. We might even suggest that the publishing industry is playing catch-up here.

Personally, we don’t get holiday-themed books — what are the chances we’ll be devouring the whole lot in the month of December*? Holidays, as recent discussions about Thanksgiving revealed, provide incredible fodder for all manner of fictional angst. We might be so bold as to suggest these are worthy themes for our time. What makes us as species decide to spend 12 hours in an airport to relive childhood squabbles with siblings? But these are universal themes; the holiday angle is just a marketing thing. We think it’s a bad move, overall, but, according to the Babes, it does make financial sense. This may be why we’ll never run a publishing company.

* – Books, not food.

  • Holiday Book Glut: What’s with all the Christmas tomes? Are book publishers really THAT desperate?

File Under: Square Pegs

1 response so far ↓

  • Kate Rothwell // Dec 11, 2004 at 3:22 pm

    I didn’t know where to put this, but knew you’d appreciate the fact that not only are they desperate, publishers are just as slimey as always. No, K2 — you have to admit it doesn’t get any better than this (from publishers weekly and my friend TB)

    Robert Fried, Ph.D., and Lynn Edlen-Nezin, Ph.D’s THE PEAK SEXUAL
    PERFORMANCE DIET, a 6-week diet plan based on real food for real people that promises to improve sexual performance and response — and promote general health — in both men and women, to Caroline Sutton at Random House, by The Martell Agency (world).
    Rights: ctisne@randomhouse.com