Last night’s election has sent shock waves throughout the world. The upset of a Trump victory has left many afraid and uncertain, and the markets are reflecting that insecurity. Currencies are dropping and the price of gold is skyrocketing, as the whirlwind leaves chaos in its wake.
The publishing industry, one that thrives on the healthy exchange of ideas and expressive tolerance, feels particularly vulnerable. What does the rise of populism and militancy of opinion mean for the book business? Opinions and outlooks vary, but by and large, the publishing industry is not looking forward to four years of increased privatization – threatening such precious cultural institutions as libraries and museums. Some show hope that the shock will inspire people to seek literature as the debates might fuel curiosity, while others fear that an atmosphere of anti-intellectualism will take hold, dropping interest in books.
What remains true as always, however, is the vital role literature will play in these trying times, regardless of industry performance. Now more than ever, authors, publishers, and everyone in between need to commit themselves to providing a service to their audiences. Providing them with beauty and insight is important, so that they can be sure that the exchange of ideas and art will always have a place in the world. As expressed by American book retailers, “I’m really glad we do the work that we do. We need to hang on to the fact that the thing we do is connecting people across the divide.”
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