It’s been so long since my last post, I feel quite guilty for not updating. With my ebook reading device, I’ve been indulging in fanfiction far more often than novels, and I’ve had a few things in life that have reduced my contact time with wonderful hardcopies. As it is, one of my friends linked me today to a short light report on libraries and booksellers in Canberra.
It was hardly surprising to me. I’ve read that right now, out of all the full-time permanent positions in our small town, about half are with the public service. We are a land of university students and graduated administrators, and we’ve always had high rates of literacy and reading compared to national averages. What I found interesting was that the ABC played up, a little, the imaginary fantasy of competition between libraries and booksellers, before getting to the point that more exposure to books increases both library loans and book sales. In some radio programs in the past, they have overplayed old questions over the conflict between hardcopy novels and ebooks while missing the real technological differences between the two mediums and DRM issues.
We have hardly any issues as a city because we read books, but what issues we do have aren’t related to the ratio between booksales and bookloans. We have a lot of sprawl for a small city, with bad public transport and ridiculously high property values. This means that smaller independent booksellers and secondhand sellers have been shifting towards larger retail hubs and chains are bigger than individual stores. It means that youth and those without cars have trouble finding, reaching, and accessing both bookstores and libraries with ease.
I suppose it is just the 7.30 report, but damn it all I’d like to see a local news story about book industry or literary fiction that dealt with things properly. In the defense of journalists, I imagine that it would be harder to cover a story on bibliophiles in Canberra, because when we’re all reading at home it would be very hard to find and interview us.