Readers have a relationship with books. Readers love the characters or the world the author built or the author’s voice and point of view. Traditional publishers call readers “consumers,” and technically that’s true. Consumers purchase goods. Readers buy books. But that’s where the analogy ends. Because the second definition of consumer is this: Someone who consumes something by eating it, drinking it, or using it up. Readers can’t eat or drink a book. Nor do they destroy the book when they read it. They haven’t “used it up,” even though traditional publishing seems to think so. Traditional publishers are based on the consumer model—using the second definition—thinking that readers are done with the book after a few months, because the book will spoil. Anyone who has visited a library or a used bookstore will tell you that’s not true. Anyone who reads Jane Austen or William Shakespeare or Mark Twain knows that stories can last forever. Books can live much longer than their creators. Books are not ephemeral. Books, and by extension, the writers of those books, can and should have a longterm relationship with the reader.
Feb 27, 2012
Readers relationship with books
Kathryn Kristan Rusch says: