philip pullman with his book northern lights

‘Golden Compass’ Author Philip Pullman Is Fighting Discount Book Culture


Philip Pullman has had it with discount books.


“It’s easy to think that readers gain a great deal by being able to buy books cheaply,” the ‘His Dark Materials’ author said. “But if a price is unrealistically cheap, it can damage the author’s reputation (or brand, as we say now), and lead to the impression that books are a cheap commodity and reading is an experience that’s not worth very much.”


philip pullman

Image courtesy of The Telegraph


Cheap book culture, Pullman posits, harms not only writers but all of society when it literally devalues literature: “If a nation allows its literary culture to die, it’s a sign that it doesn’t fundamentally care.”


Pullman, the head of the UK trade union the Society of Authors, has been joined in his call for reform by writers like James Mayhew (‘Ella Bella Ballerina’) and Joanne Harris (‘Chocolat’). Mayhew and Harris have even suggested bringing back the Net Book Agreement (NBA), which allowed British publishers to set retail prices but was struck down by the courts in 1997. “The power to offer books at a greatly reduced price,” Harris said, “has allowed supermarkets and online retailers like Amazon to overwhelm the market,” said Harris, “crushing all opposition and creating a virtual monopoly.”


james mayhew

Image courtesy of The Comet 


‘La Belle Sauvage’, Pullman’s latest book related to the ‘His Dark Materials’ universe, will be published this October.


Featured image courtesy of The Telegraph.