From PostSecret


7 thoughts on “respect

    • 50 Shades may be bad writing, but it performs different functions from McEwan or Ishiguro. There’s no need to conflate one as superior to the other; they’re literatures of different kinds. People who want to jerk off to a certain kind of language are bound to buy James over McEwan, and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t.

      I also think it’s highly unlikely that people won’t flip through books before buying them. So it’s not even effective. This seems more like an act emphasising the high lit/low lit divide than anything else, and its USP seems to be some kind of self-glorifying evangelism.

      • True, they are different. Those who want to buy 50 Shades will buy it. I’m intrigued by your suggestion that I assign superiority to one category. I don’t – it’s comparing apples and oranges. But visibility matters. If someone picks up a new author because s/he is displayed more prominently, there is potential for a greater variety of reading – of tasting both apples and oranges.

        Displays in bookstores are often governed by crude commerce and bestselling lists. It doesn’t seem such a bad idea to give names that aren’t as widely discussed as James a more prominent position.

  1. Ah, I inferred that because you said ‘enriched’ if you picked those writers over James. I do agree with your point about display, but visibility really depends on the writers/mechanics of bookstores in question. E L James will sell on the streets of Bombay/Delhi alongside the Shantaram dude and Anita Desai. El James will also sell in most bookstores alongside these very authors. As for the West–well. They hardly need to be visible there, do they? My point is–because they are apples and oranges, replacing one with the other seems like a pointless tactic. Those who want to buy James, will. They may also buy Ishiguro, for all that you know, since it’s hardly fair to assume that readers will pick either one or the other.

    From the point of PostSecret anyway–and not the way you’ve inferred it, which seems a much more productive way of thinking about such an action–it seems like they’re assigning a standard of ‘worth’ to these books. Or perhaps, that’s just how I’m reading this postcard since it’s a common opinion in the West (and even amongst the Chetan Bhaghat–dissing population in India) that James is ‘low literature’.

  2. The point of visibility is this: more people know Chetan Bhagat than Manu Joseph because his books sell more than the latter’s; he appeals to a wider audience. He doesn’t need visibility as Joseph does. New/obscure writers need it.

    Sure, people will buy what they want to, but that freedom is restricted by the knowledge what they can buy. I would not buy a author that I don’t know exists. Displays are one of many instruments that expand that knowledge.

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