Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Thank You, Freedom Book Club!

In a previous post ( In the company of giants... ),  I talked at length about what an honor it was to receive a nomination to be in the running for the Freedom Book Club's August, 2010 Book of the Month. Well, the voting ran the entire month of July, and, when the dust settled and the votes were tallied, The Last Bartender came out ahead.

I'll spare you the repetition of everything I said in my previous musings on the subject; suffice it to say that I'm deeply honored by the book's recognition.

The publishing industry is undergoing its greatest change since Johann Gutenberg pioneered the use of movable type printing around 1439. Technology has wrestled the keys to the modern presses from traditional, large publishing houses and their literary agent gatekeepers and handed them to the authors, most of whom would never have seen their words in print otherwise. 

This wholesale decentralization of the publishing process hasn't been without its problems. As the top-down model crumbles and the cocktail party literati lose their grip on the velvet rope line, the reading public has been faced with thousands of new authors flooding the field, some worthy, others perhaps less so. How to choose?

That's where organizations like the Freedom Book Club come in. Since 2008, they've spotlighted twenty-eight books as their Book-of-the-Month, promoting generally underappreciated authors and providing readers with recommendations from peers who enjoy reading books that promote individual liberty. Other book clubs and organizations promote other sorts of books: the New York Times Bestseller list makes recommendations to its audience, Oprah makes recommendations to hers, Glenn Beck to his. All serve the same purpose -- to help like-minded readers blaze a trail through the crowded jungle of book selections. It's a role that will rise in importance as the publishing world further decentralizes.  

Without the assistance of such guide lights, new authors have a very difficult time breaking through. That's why I'm so appreciative of the Freedom Book Club's recognition. Normally, I'd be in a dark corner, by myself, screaming "Read me! Read me! I'm begging you ... will someone please just take a chance and read me!" The Freedom Book Club just came along, flicked on a flashlight and pointed it at me. It's a good feeling...

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