The BBC is to launch a campaign encouraging Brits to read, Dennis Abrams tells us at Publishing Perspectives. “Get Reading” will take place in 2016, and will work with a variety of partners including the Reading Agency, BookTrust, the National Literacy Trust, the Society Of Chief Librarians and the Scottish Library and Information Council. With all those organizations on the case it’s perhaps surprising anyone over there dares leave home without a book under their arm.
Perhaps coincidentally The Publishers Association is making moves to promote book publishing in the USA, as reported by BookBrunch (link via Jose Afonso Furtado).
Even the UK government is getting in on the reading business. The Guardian reports in its Bookmarks blog, that the minister responsible for schools has called upon publishers to issue cheap editions of classics for schools. Scholastic Books has already responded by making 26 books available to schools for £1.50 (about $2) each. Of course Wordsworth Editions already do lots of titles at £1.99 (in America they tend to be priced at $4.99 or $5.99). Dover Thrift Editions (now owned by R. R. Donnelley) have a base price of $2.50 now, though they appear not to be competing vigorously in this market in the UK.
Seems to me the real reason for kids’ reluctance to read has less to do with the price point problem identified by Mr Gibb, and more to do with the superior attractiveness of other methods of spending you time, leave alone your money. It was ever thus.