USA Today says that Book-of-the-Month-Club membership, now at 700,000 people, is about half of what it was 20 years ago.
And, of course, I doubt that’s because more people are buying books full price… *sigh*
Seventeen years ago, when I was working for BOMC (oy it’s been a long time) they were already worried about the dwindling numbers. Of course, then they blamed it on that upstart pup, Amazon…
Personally, I think an educated, reading majority of the populace is an aberration. People as a rule don’t want to use their brains even that much, to read a book.
Pity. And I suspect that the only way to change it is to raise up readers and then keep them from getting disenchanted. Which is a Task indeed.
Yes, I am being bitter and cynical today, why do you ask? Bookses is still pretty, though.
I dunno. Even when I was a kid I thought book of the month clubs were um old fashioned. (Ok, for old farts is what I really thought. You know, for the same people who read Readers’ Digest.) It seems like this weird archaic way of getting your fiction.
Yes. I used to belong to the Science Fiction Book Club when I was in high school and college. As soon as I could afford real hardcover editions, I quit. I still buy about the same number of hardcovers a year. (Actually more if you count programming books for work.)
Really, why should you put up with all the book club hassle when for a few dollars more, you can get better editions of the books from Amazon.com?
I suspect it has less to do with not wanting to read than with not having the money, at least in the last few years. When money is tight, people buy fewer magazines and books — and I can’t even get a seat to sit on in the local public library because there are so many people there with the books.
Except the numbers were declining during the Clinton boom years, too. Even with him setting a good (reading, anyway) example.
Kev and I are always running into people, even readers, who are shocked at the number of books we own. They just don’t understand the concept of buying a book and keeping it… and thus they certainly don’t want to shell out the cash of buying it new. So I know a lot of people who do read, but don’t keep the books, and prefer to borrow.
Which is good for literacy, yet horrific for the book market.
The whole idea of the book exchange we did at ACUS, alas, predicates on same.
Books are expensive, although a good book is worth its price, easily as compared to other media.
I joined the book of the month club twenty years ago. I felt ripped off, quit as soon as I fulfilled my purchase obligation, and will never join again. However, I buy as many books as ever. (The nice thing about owning so many books? You never have to paint or wallpaper the walls. They’re all decorated in “early book”. 🙂
Anyway, my point was, maybe it’s the club, not the people.
Personally, I’ve always thought those clubs were a scam.
I don’t think that books are in danger of disappearing.
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