The automotive industry got one. The financial industry got one too. So, author James Patterson asks, why can’t the book industry get a bailout from the United States government? The weekend of April 20, Patterson took out ad space in the New York Times Book Review as well as Publishers Weekly, hoping to raise awareness about the decline of the book industry. The goal of the ad was to point out that there are serious consequences to letting paper books die out, and he asks for help from someone — anyone — to help save books and the publishing industry.
The ad, which had a grim black background and bold red printing, served as a warning to people. Its headline stated “Who will save our books? Our bookstores? Our libraries?” In order to make an impact, Patterson had listed nearly 40 different classic book titles that have made an impact on society in one form or another. He claims that with the state of the current industry, the literary classics we are used to will dwindle away into nothingness. Patterson warns that if something isn’t done to save the book industry, and quickly, there will be no amazing new authors discovered, mentored and grown. He states that there won’t be any important literature published. He asks the ominous question then, what will happen to society if there is not important, thoughtful literature on the market?
Through the advertisement, Patterson sheds light on the fact that bookstores across the country are closing each day. Even corporate conglomerates, such as Borders, couldn’t make it in a world where e-books seem to be the way of the future. Libraries, which have long been a place where people in the public can go to gather, learn and get information, receive less funding each year from their local, state and federal governments. Patterson makes a cry and a plea for help — not just for the sake of the publishing industry, but for the sake of society as a whole. He asks that the federal government, or local or state governments, make an effort to support the book industry into the 21st century.
Patterson, who is an author of many bestselling books including “Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas” and “Alex Cross, Run,” told Salon.com in an interview that he took out the ad for two main reasons. First and foremost, he wanted to raise awareness about the issue and the consequences of letting paper books become a part of history. Second, he wants to keep kids interested in reading. Patterson himself donates time and resources to help encourage children to read books.
Patterson admits to Salon.com that he doesn’t necessarily have a solution to the problem, but he does want to people to realize that there’s a bigger issue besides the business story of bookstores closing down and e-readers picking up in sales. He wants to make the point that America can’t be a great, wonderful, educated and enlightened country if it doesn’t have literature in its classrooms and books on its shelves.