What I Want to See More of In Publishing- A Conversation

Hello all and happy Thursday! Lately I’ve been thinking bout what it is that I want to see more of in terms of the selection of books available to readers. I was in Barnes and Noble the other day to buy Dawn Kurtagich’s new psychological thriller (which, if you’re into that genre I highly recommend checking some of her books out), and I noticed that the selection available to us American readers is surprisingly limited.

What I mean by limited is that, well, most of the books that get marketed to us are usually quite mainstream. For example, I was planning on studying abroad in Tokyo next summer (I told y’all about this a while back but, long story short, I won’t be making a trip to Japan until after I graduate Uni) and so I had to write some essays for scholarship applications about why they should fund my trip. Me being an English Lit major would make no sense if I went to Japan, so the spin I was gonna write in my essays was that I wanted to learn more about Japanese culture for my own personal writing and to better understand Japanese literature. (Btw, this wasn’t a lie necessarily as I am extremely interested in reading Japanese literature and writing some stories with Japanese culture). But, when I searched all over Barnes and Noble for Japanese translated books, all that I could find were generic ones all written by Murakami Haruki (which I’ve read and I think they are just okay). I was hoping for more of a variety, more of a selection to choose from but, unfortunately, there were no more books to choose from.

So, what this experience made me realize is that, we’re really only given a narrow selection of reading here in the U.S. I know that it’s a little selfish and a bit greedy to say that there aren’t enough books available to us (I’m well aware that this is a first world problem and I’m very grateful for what I’m able to live with) but if we’re going to be given an abundance of books, why not make them as diverse and various as possible? I’d love to read some books in translation from writers around the world. I’d love to see more and more characters with various backgrounds and cultures and different stories to tell than all the other generic ones we’ve already read about a million times over. I’d love to experience reading books that people half way across the world are reading without them having to be international sensations (that’s right, I’m looking at Harry Potter, I’m looking at Percy Jackson and so on). Books shouldn’t have to be worldwide main hits in order for people across the world to be able to read them, that’s just limiting to readers everywhere. What about the diamonds in the rough? Who knows, maybe my absolute favorite book will turn out to be written by a little known German writer or French writer or Japanese writer. I wouldn’t know because what American publishers give us is the same kind of books in a repeated cycle with variants of the same flashy covers to reel us in. I’m not saying that what we’re given is bad (believe me, I love so many American written books) but what I’m saying is, in addition to what we are usually provided, I’d love to see more diversity and variation in, not only the characters/situations/cultures portrayed, but in authors and regions from which books are created.

So, what are your thoughts on this matter? Do you want to see something new from publishers? What do you feel is lacking in the book industry that you’d like more of? Do you agree with any of my ramblings? Disagree? Let me know your thoughts and chat with me in the comments below!!584437d4a6515b1e0ad75b69Thanks so much for reading y’all! Let me know anything you’d like to say in the comments below, you know I love hearing from y’all!

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4 thoughts on “What I Want to See More of In Publishing- A Conversation

  1. I think you might be surprised how much translated fiction is available in 2019. I was learning about in my librarian classes how the internet made niche publishing suddenly much more available! It’s probably NOT going to be on the bookshelf at B&N, though. Bookstores can’t afford to put every book known to mankind on their shelves, there just isn’t room! Instead they make those books available online, and leave on their shelves books that are *most likely* to sell. That is, mainstream books. Same thing with libraries. They can’t afford to get every book every might ever ask to read. They purchase books that they think the *most* members of their community will need, and rely on Inter Library Loans and the internet for the rest. I would suggest looking for blog posts and lists for Japanese translated fiction, because I know there is tons, and a lot of those books are certainly available online.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally get what you mean about bookstores and libraries not being able to supply every book out there. I have purchased many translated books online because of this issue. I guess what I was trying to say was that there should be more of an effort to have a variety of books in places with little access to resources like the internet. For example, my hometown is extremely poor (it’s actually one of the poorest districts in the nation) and since my dad’s an English teacher I get to see his students a lot. These kids are super interested in a variety of different topics and cultures. However, because our town doesn’t have much money, our libraries focus only on the mainstream popular books and our bookstores are the same way. These kids come from low income families that barely have extra money to send their kids to school with lunch money (because we all know school food is like nuclear waste). So, I know that they don’t have money to order things online and a lot of them have told me that they don’t even have internet at home. If our libraries could maybe try to divert their attention to getting a better variety, I think it’d be beneficial in expanding those kids’ experiences, especially when they’re so open and eager to learning about how other people live rather than re-reading the Harry Potter series again. Lol, I guess I didn’t really talk much about the implications of trying to supply every book in every library/bookstore. I know that there are monetary issues as well as issues with space management. So, it’s not really a publishing problem (I take back what I said before in this post about it being a publication issue), it’s more of a distribution and monetary problem. Thanks for making me rethink this whole thing out. I had honestly been blind to your point that the majority opinions and needs come first in bookstores/libraries distribution decisions.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, you’ve definitely hit the nail on the head with the problem every librarian in the world is trying to solve: how to stretch limited dollars to give their community all the tools they need. Again, you might be surprised how many of the things you mentioned ARE available from the library via ILL from libraries with a bit more money. The trick is getting people and the community into the library, and then to talk to the librarian. Also, I think librarians need to do a better job of advertising the services they offer, but they treat advertising like a dirty word and often refuse to do it.

        Liked by 1 person

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