Friday, 23 November 2012

Head spinning at the spin offs.

Today, I have been into two different shops that stock (mostly) commercial novels and am now declaring 2012 the year of the Spin-Off novel. There were at least 20 shades of Sub-Dom Romance, 12 (days of) Christmas chick lit, and one book still hankering after the Dan Brown dollar. The only exceptions were the originals that had inspired the rest, and the odd re-release issued to tie in with a movie.

Do I think people who buy books are to blame for this? Well, it was the chart I looked at, so I can't rule it out. To be fair, though, I think the chart often reflects the books that publishers are promoting, and booksellers have made prominent. And my feeling is that the buying public love something new and different. I think it's originality, often, that makes a super-hit, such at the Da Vinci Code or Harry Potter and, for me, this is all credit to our readers.

This spin off marketplace smacks of a lack of imagination somewhere in the process of writing, publishing and bringing books to market. I'm not going to judge or lay blame at anyone's door for this problem. These are hard times, and a lot of people are scared. Writers need to put food on the table, publishers need to make a profit and keep their employees in jobs. 

The net result, though, is a sad state of affairs. This is not the way to revive book sales or save the novel. All we have left is an art form that is eating itself. 

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