Thursday, November 20, 2008

Art and the Economy:
Laurel Snyder, PW and NY Times...

On her blog today, author Laurel Snyder offers some interesting comments on art and poverty as prompted by the recent economic downturn and how it's affirming to writers and other creative types. Here's a snippet:

See, to pursue a writing life, to really make literature and art the center of things, you have to accept a certain amount of uncertainty, poverty, etc. You decide you’ll be a waitress forever, and never own a fancy handbag. You live in a studio apartment, eat cheap. Ideally, you do this (not because you’re selfish and singleminded, but) because you’re choosing to prioritize art and social commentary and intelligent community and the life of the mind BEFORE handbags.
Click here for the full post.

I've always admired writers who choose to pursue their art and all the sacrifices that go along with that. It makes it all the more exciting when contracts are gotten, awards are won, bestseller lists are made. I'm not sure that pursuit is something I could handle myself. I need the steady paycheck, the paid vacation, and the boss.

There was some good news in terms of the economy and children's books offered recently in PW. In a piece on wholesalers and the holiday season, they report that "Nearly all wholesalers expect children's books to be strong this year..." Click here for the full story.

My favorite economic news reported recently is about the Lipstick Index, what The New York Times calls "that frivolous financial barometer that says cosmetics sales rise in direct relation to free-falling finances." Cosmetic sales have gone up 40% in the last few months.

Books are just as cheap as cosmetics. How do we get everyone to put down that makeup, step away from Sephora, and go spend that $25 at a bookstore?


Grammie said...

you can do that by offering them a product more appealing...when someone would rather stay in and read a good book they don't need the cosmetics required to go out...with the way the world is going nowadays there is a greater chance people will be staying in more and needing that good read...I personally have one ready to go and two in the works if you ever run out I will gladly share my read...I have had readers call out sick to work because they were up all night reading

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

Yeah, I've heard about that Lipstick effect before - and in fact, just read some interview with a retailer in NYC who said sales of accessories are up (while entire new outfit sales are down) because people are trying to make what they already have FEEL new and fresh.
I wonder what's going on with library usage - are LOTS more people getting books there rather than buying?
But I like your idea of selling books rather than lipstick. Because, really, isn't a book MORE escapist than a lipstick? (Um, okay, clearly I'm a guy here, and have no idea about the female feel-good retail-therapy cosmetics thing... )

Happy Thanksgiving!


Anonymous said...

The knowledge and experience economies seem to blend and definitions of labour and professionalism, self-organization and amateurism get muddled up.

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