PW‘s Douglas Wolk reports on some of the successful efforts to turn average Joes and Janes into successful comic book regulars. Among one of the comic industry’s more enriching promotional tools is Free Comic Book Day, which disseminates samples and various issues of comics every year in May.
All this makes me wonder why the publishing industry isn’t working with bookstores to institute “Free Book Day.” With all the “sky is falling” hyperbole being tossed around by book critics and booksellers alike, would not disseminating literature on a specific day of the year be an apposite way to hook the next generation on reading?
In fact, if the high cost of printing a fat volume is a consideration, this might be a very good way of getting short stories and novellas into the public consciousness. If the publishing industry doesn’t want to take this up, then perhaps literary journals might want to coordinate with independent bookstores to remind the public that there are all sorts of fantastic stories to be read. And if not bookstores, why not publicize a Free Book Day where literary journals are handed out at subway stations or other places where people face the prospect of staring into space for 45 minutes or getting lost in a narrative?
This may seem a rather extraordinary solution, but this kind of pro-active approach sure beats throwing one’s hands up in the air and shrieking “The End is Nigh!” at the top of one’s lungs. And besides, wouldn’t it be a more interesting world — just for one day — if something like A Public Space or The Threepenny Review replaced The New York Sun as the free handout of choice?