Time for a Little History
Guest Column: A Big Little Christmas

Holiday Message from Roy Blount, Authors Guild President

Here is a holiday message from Roy Blount, president of the Authors Guild. He gave blanket permission to publish it. ("Sound the clarion call to every corner of the Internet...")

I've been talking to booksellers lately who report that times are hard. And local booksellers aren't known for vast reserves of capital, so a serious dip in sales can be devastating. Booksellers don't lose enough money, however, to receive congressional attention. A government bailout isn't in the cards.

We don't want bookstores to die. Authors need them, and so do neighborhoods. So let's mount a book-buying splurge. Get your friends together, go to your local bookstore and have a book-buying party. Buy the rest of your Christmas presents, but that's just for starters. Clear out the mysteries, wrap up the histories, beam up the science fiction! Round up the westerns, go crazy for self-help, say yes to the university press books! Get a load of those coffee-table books, fatten up on slim volumes of verse, and take a chance on romance!

There will be birthdays in the next twelve months; books keep well; they're easy to wrap: buy those books now. Buy replacements for any books looking raggedy on your shelves.  Stockpile children's books as gifts for friends who look like they may eventually give birth. Hold off on the flat-screen TV and the GPS (they'll be cheaper after Christmas) and buy many, many books. Then tell the grateful booksellers, who by this time will be hanging onto your legs begging you to stay and live with their cat in the stockroom: "Got to move on, folks. Got some books to write now. You see...we're the Authors Guild."

Enjoy the holidays.

Roy Blount Jr.
Authors Guild

P.S., from Susan: I hear good things about Blount's new book, Alphabet Juice—"part etymology and part social commentary but mostly a dictionary with stories"—from the Nashville Scene and others.


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I bought my boys their holiday book gifts at the school bookfair that was stocked from our local indie bookstore. But I was disappointed that most of the Cybils Easy Readers I was looking for were not there. I talked to the owner and she had already been contacted by someone else about the Cybils but didn't have the books on the shelves. We all need to keep asking for more, more, more!

and why not a bail out for book sellers? They aren't suing the states to remove the higher emissions standards and demand for greener cars that the auto manufacturers are who are also asking for a bail out. . .

I say Bail out Books! not CEOS!

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