How can we foster a population with wide-ranging intellectual and creative curiosity? asks the blurb for Kevin Rudd's 2020 Summit. Don't bother to ask book publishers, for starters.
My good friend Louise Adler is the only publisher invited to the Summit and therefore has the great responsiblity of representing the interests of the entire $1.4 billion Australian book publishing industry on her own.
'I am going to Canberra to argue for more money for artists, for more support for the making of more Australian stories, a tax break for Australian book publishers, for the adoption of the French method of cultural protectionism, with a small levy on all movie tickets,' she wrote in The Age.
One can only hope her lone voice isn't drowned out by the 887 others at the Summit, including a healthy number of representatives from the film industry, theatre, TV and music.
No wonder the Australian Publishers Association is forking out a handsome sum on a new report from PR company Australian Public Affairs with the express purpose of raising the industry's profile with the Rudd Government. A pity it won't be published until after the party's over.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Bibliotherapy - the use of books to help people, especially children, better cope with their problems - goes back to the 1930s. It's easy to be cyncial about it, however, especially if you're a publisher being beseiged with proposals for books with titles like Johnny Has a Goitre, Why Spot Must Die, Meredith Has Lost Her Savings in the Sub-Prime Crisis or Mummy's Having Liposuction. Actually, that last title is almost real. My Beautiful Mommy, a tale of a little girl whose mummy has a tummy tuck and nose job, has recently been released in (where else?) the US by Big Tent Books. At last, a book to help little kiddies get over their mum's cosmetic surgery. Author Gabriela Acosta says she wrote it for her son: 'I didn't want him to think [the surgery] was because I was hurting. It was to make me feel good,' she told US magazine Newsweek. Well, it doesn't make me feel any better, Ms Acosta! Why these vanity processes are deemed necessary at all when you can buy a perfectly good foundation garment from Myer is beyond me.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Sydney shopper and blogger seunjinbing took this rather telling photograph recently at A&R's new bargain book store in George Street, Sydney. Sadly, there don't appear to be any copies of Eats, Shoots and Leaves in stock. To adapt those Government AIDS awareness ads from the 1980s: 'always use a proofreader, my dears, always.'