Friday, 24 April 2009
The Book Channel
This week sees the timely launch of new British digital TV channel
The Book Channel
Timely, as it comes just as Richard and Judy are contemplating retirement from our screens, along with their hit television Book Club based on Oprah Winfrey's original model in the US, an idea which in turn led to multitudes of private Book Groups being set up among friends and neighbours up and down the country to either link in with Richard and Judy's or read their own choices. We even had a hit sit com on the subject!
Those of us with published books know how tough the market is out there. Plus publishers give so much money to their celebrity 'author' list in bidding wars or to stop them seeking more elsewhere, they have increasingly little left to offer the real authors on their list. Gone are the days when even a previously successful author could count on another book deal, or even on more than diminishing returns for any subsequently accepted book. It is shocking to realise how many seemingly successful authors, far from living JK Rowling lifestyles are actually struggling to make their mortgage payments each month! But then publishers themselves are also struggling and going to the wall by the week. Though JK Rowling was one of the lucky ones who managed to attain both celebrity status AND successful author status!
It is great therefore to see the rise and rise of that 'novel' innovation The Book Festival in the last ten years, bringing authors and readers together and books alive in a new way. Now almost every town and city has one and authors have nationwide tours much like pop stars, only without the riches! Here's a couple of pictures from The Oxford Literary Festival (one of the original book festivals) last month. In fact such has it mushroomed, last year it spawned the also mushrooming OxFringe arts festival too!
I do hope The Book Channel will similarly blossom for authors and readers alike. It certainly has the increasing paucity of quality content on other digital channels in its favour! So many times I have sat in front of the screen and found absolutely nothing I wished to watch, despite countless channels to choose from. A 'Jackanory' and 'The Book Tower' for adults would be good - I might apply to present!