Critical Linking

Critical Linking: June 26th, 2013

Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.

 

Last Friday, an essential exhibit for book lovers and onetime children of all stripes opened at the New York Public Library: The ABC Of It: Why Children’s Books Matter. Within, you can find the copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland that belonged to Alice Liddell, a recording of E.B. White reading from Charlotte’s Web, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s family copy of Mother Goose, complete with annotations on which sections were too scary for the children, the original Winnie-the-Pooh stuffed animals, and more delights.

This looks fantastic.

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Younger Americans—those ages 16-29—exhibit a fascinating mix of habits and preferences when it comes to reading, libraries, and technology. Almost all Americans under age 30 are online, and they are more likely than older patrons to use libraries’ computer and internet connections; however, they are also still closely bound to print, as three-quarters (75%) of younger Americans say they have read at least one book in print in the past year, compared with 64% of adults ages 30 and older.

Before we get too excited about this, remember: many more of those 16-29 year-olds are in school than the over-30 set.

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The ethos of self-help is woven into American culture. It’s the literature of aspiration. The pursuit of happiness is embedded right there in the document that launched the American experiment. For centuries, religion has offered a strong tonic for those in need of backbone, upper-lip stiffening, moral guidance, or practical advice. The cultivation of good human relationships and moderation in both food and drink—two central preoccupations of the self-help industry—are touchstones of the Christian faith.

Throw in the American obsession with personal “growth” and you’ve got quite a trifecta there.

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One thing that arose in that discussion was that a very big wad of spending was for ads in the NY Times Book Review. They hardly moved the consumer needle at all. When we probed internally, we found that the marketers knew that would be the case, but those ads weren’t placed primarily to sell books. They were placed to sell authors on publishing with the house.

Come publish with us because we don’t spend our ad dollars to sell our books, but to get you to publish with us. Weird.

 

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