This week I am putting the final touches on a new column that will launch next week at Washington Times Communities. Say good-bye to “It’s About Time” and politics. Say hello to “Rick Townley’s World of Books & Publishing.”
As much as I liked the column name, I admit I’m simply worn out from trying to keep up with the world and national news. Originally it was just supposed to be about daily life, but with all the ranting and raging going on in the world, I too frequently found myself in the middle of things where I didn’t really care to be. So, it was time for a change. The new column will focus on all things books and publishing. It is not about reviews, though I may touch on individual works and authors. Instead, it will hopefully address key issues facing the book industry today that affect readers. A lot goes on that book lovers don’t get to hear about, and I will try to bring some of that out into the open.
Along with addressing specific topics, I hope to add a weekly newsletter feature that gives highlights and quick summaries of events and happenings in and around the book business. I started my career as a bookseller and there are, frankly, many days I miss that side of the business although it has changed a lot. I ran a high volume bookstore at a time when authors like Robert Ludlum (who lived nearby) was starting to break records on the bestseller list, Erica Jong launched her first book tour from there, and a host of other authors and celebrities were common visitors.
With some luck I hope to recreate some the excitement that existed around books in that day and age, before ebooks, before Amazon and before the rise of the mega-chain stores. We all enjoyed browsing, reading, talking about and just touching books – something that is fading fast in today’s cyber society. I hope everyone who has followed the It’s About Time column will switch over and join me for what will hopefully be a celebration of books and some critical thinking about the state of publishing.
Change may be inevitable, but not all of it is good. With your input and help I’ll try to sort out the good from the bad and revive some of the excitement we all had when books were made entirely of paper and not bits and bytes.
Look for the new column on WTC during the week of March 18-22. I’ll send out a notice when it publishes. See you there!