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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Do You Support The Bookism Movement?



We know about racism, feminism, consumerism, socialism, and capitalism.  But here’s an ism that perhaps you are not familiar with but would wholeheartedly embrace:  bookism.

Oxford Dictionaries says the term’s earliest use can be traced to the late 18th century writer Fanny Burney, meaning bookishness.  I see the word to reflect a movement – and a way to see things.

Bookism, to me, is about people who love and support books.  But it’s not a solitary pursuit or pleasure – it’s a united movement.  It represents the millions of people who craft, publish, market, promote and read books – as well as those who teach us to read and value and preserve books.

A bookist, one who “discriminates against books, whether it be by their covers, descriptions, author, etc.  (for no sensible reason)” (according to Urban Dictionary) would be the opposite of those supporting bookism.  Bibliophiles could be part of the bookism crowd but bookism is not just a mere favoring of books.  It’s an active way of life. Bookism supporters don’t just love books – they help others love them too. A world of bookism is one that puts books above all other considerations, worldly possessions, or activities.  Of course books are not as important as life and death needs of food, shelter, clothing, love, healthcare and security, but books are a vital component of the life worth living.  Once you satisfy your survival, the activities of your life should greatly give a priority to books.

I admit I’m prejudiced.  I have a deep bias for books.  I believe in books more than anything else.  Even books that spew viewpoints or encourage behaviors that I vehemently oppose are to be treasured.  In order to get the full benefit of any book we need to support all books, as each has a right to exist.  We need all voices to be heard and truth, fairness, or goodness should win out.  The better books will naturally drown out the ones that some may see as offensive, trashy, disagreeable, or outright bullshit.  Bookism allows for all books to find a home in this world and promotes a diversity of viewpoints to co-exist.

What does bookism look like?

It’s a society that supports – politically, financially, socially and educationally – the pursuit of writing, creating, reading, sharing, and protecting books. It means, depending on the situation or circumstance, books get a priority over other things or activities.

So how does this play out in a practical setting?

·         Governments, when crafting a city plan, should give greater consideration to constructing, maintaining or revitalizing its literacy infrastructure, from showcasing bookstores and developing writing institutes, to expanding libraries and recruiting publishers.

·         Cities should highlight literary tourism and spotlight cultural institutions or museum exhibits and historical houses that relate to books and writers.

·         Writers should be paid better.  All too many writers struggle to make a living.  Why should a wonderful art and gift, writing, be relegated to a part-time, second-class hobby by a society that doesn’t seem to financially reward its great writers and thinkers?  Those who support bookism will speak out to find ways to reward the writing class.

·         When deciding on an activity, choose books, at least some of the time, over other endeavors.

·         When talking to someone, insert books into the conversation.  Plan to hang with someone at a library or to have an author speak.  Mention a book you just read or plan to buy.

·         Encourage others to read, buy, and share more books, whether it’s children, seniors or anyone in between.

·         Defer to the authority of books as a source.  When quoting a fact or referencing something, where possible, use a book instead of just searching for an easy and possible inaccurate answer online.

·         Volunteer to help others – to save or improve lives.  Of course volunteering to help build a house, give blood, or use your professional services to help people live are immensely important, but please also volunteer to help on matters of promoting literacy, defending free speech, or helping writers to pursue their craft.

·         Bookism can infiltrate everything that you say or do.  It becomes a way of life and thinking.  It means giving books some level of consideration in all of your decisions, actions, or communications.  It’s about embracing a book-first mentality, to elevate books above other things.

·         Those in support of bookism would proudly use, wear, and display swag or premiums that reflect their love and support of books -- bookmarks, armbands, bandanas, caps, keychains, mousepads, mugs, T-shirts, posters, screen-savers, etc.

In life – and in society – we have to make many choices or decisions.  Some of them are quite difficult and challenging. But, where possible, let’s put books into the equation.  

Can you save money by choosing one activity over another, so that you can buy more books or donate to a literary cause?  When looking to entertain yourself, before you click across the Internet, watch a movie, or take in a show, think about reading a book, joining a book club, or attending a book-related event.  When befriending others, think about those who like to talk about books.  When you make space in your house for a 60-inch TV also make room for a bookcase.  Every facet of your life, every step of the way, should have books top of the mind.

Bookism requires you use a filter or prism by which to view and judge everything and everyone, to measure life in terms of books. 

Ask yourself:

·         Am I helping or hurting something or someone as it relates to books with my actions, thinking, spending, volunteering, or entertaining?
·         Did I promote books in some fashion today?
·         Did I read a book today?
·         Did I discuss a book today?
·         Did I help or encourage others to read, buy, share or discuss a book today?

Bookism could almost be a religion. It is a way of being, acting, thinking, and feeling.  It’s a powerful, positive force that, if it infiltrates everyone’s soul, would make the world a far, far better place than it is today.  Books can solve problems and initiate dialogues.  They can also comfort, entertain, inspire, educate, and challenge us.  
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Do you support bookism?  Now go live it!

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs

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