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A flat industry

The publishing industry in this country is not growing.

It's not declining, thank goodness, but it is not showing anything like robust growth, even when you add in e-books.

The industry just released its revenue figures for 2014, and they were about the same as in 2012 after a slight dip in 2013.

Revenue isn't growing and the number of units sold is not growing, either.

Nevertheless, there was growth in certain categories. Children and young adult revenues grew by 20.9 percent. In fact, that category is now bigger than the adult fiction market.

Why? Because so many adults are now reading YA. At least I think that's the case. Consider the popularity of the Mockingjay books and A Fault in our Stars.

The Zombie invasion!

We lived through the Zombie Invasion of June 13, 2015!

The proof is on our new YouTube channel. Just search there for Wimberley Library. Not only do we have videos there from our first Wacky Wednesday events, but also the Zombie movie that our teen volunteers and others made Saturday afternoon.

The movie was the last part of an afternoon devoted to learning how to make a short movie.

But I think the participants may have learned more about the application of makeup!

Whatever ... we had a lot of fun. Check it out.

One role we play

The website blog American Libraries has interviewed James Patterson about why he is giving out hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to school libraries.

He's concerned, he tells the magazine, that so many school libraries are neglected and under-funded, and many don't have librarians anymore.

He thinks they will continue to serve a valuable purpose. Here is one major observation:

What role do school libraries have in a child’s education?

I think that for every school in the country, the first school trip should be to the school library. Not a trip where they hear all the rules and “don’t do this, and don’t do that.” It should be to get a sense of what’s there. You can visit every country. You can visit space. You can learn about every animal. You can learn about the universe. There’s so much information. We can find out so much about other people. What are different ways to look at the world? That’s the huge thing. Kids—and a lot of us—tend to think everybody looks at the world the same way we do, and it’s not true. There are as many ways to look at the world as there are people, and in libraries, you’re going to meet the most fascinating minds that have ever been on the planet.

I've been critical of Patterson in the past. I regret that I was short-sighted.

Most well-read cities?

Amazon announced last week the 20 most well-read cities based on sales of books, magazines and newspapers in print and Kindle formats from April 2014 through April '15.

Seattle finished at the top of the list, which is no suprise.

Portland, Ore., was second. Again, no surprise there.

I was interested to see that Austin finished in sixth place. I guess I expected a place that's a state capital and home to a large university to be better read than No. 4 Tucson, Ariz., and No. 5 Washington, D.C.

But, wow. The No. 3 city on the list is LAS VEGAS, Nev.

How do people who live or visit Vegas have time to read anything?

Turns out they read a lot of romance novels there, but still ...

Enough to rank No. 3?

I'd never have bet on that.

Yet another savior

Every six months or so someone either related to public libraries or very familiar with them -- and with technological change -- launches into a screed about how libraries are threatened by de-funding and may be overcome by tech developments.

They are all up on tech threats. They are all up on money issues.

But they are not at all up on what libraries are supposed to do and be.

Now comes yet another. The A-S reported on a book called "Bibliotech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google," written by John Palfrey.

Why, John, do they matter more than ever?

Well, the A-S review doesn't say.

OK, John, what are supposed to become?

The A-S review says John is a little vague on that point.

He joins some good company in that regard.

No one who ventures into this discussion has much of a clue.

John does say that whatever it is that libraries are to be should be paid for by philanthropists.

Like the Fat Cats who have an interest in keeping the people as stupid as possible so as to keep and gain more power?

 

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