Books come in many sizes and cover a variety of topics. Children’s books are filled with wonderful and imaginative pictures. Adult books shed their pictures and replace them with fanciful descriptions which create vivid images in the minds of their readers. Well written books have the ability to transport their readers to far away galaxies and worlds that have never existed. However, what is the true value of the books we have in our society? Do we revere authors for simply accomplishing the task of writing a book or is there more to it?
How We See Authors
I would argue that we revere authors for the simple task of writing a book. This reverence seems in no way connected to the author’s true ability or the quality of the book they wrote. If at any point we meet an author of a book we create a specific perception of them. We assume since they wrote a book they must have a wealth of knowledge on that subject and build assumptions about their success as an individual. Of course this could change, either for better or worse, if we actually read their book. Then we may be able to ascertain the quality of the work and the author’s knowledge on the subject. Unfortunately, most of us do not read as much as we should and will simply accept the fact they wrote a book at face value.
I believe this to be a mindset and action we may want to change. In the lifespan of the millennial generation, electronic books only became widespread as they entered their late teens. This means that prior to this they have primarily been exposed to traditional books and all their traditionally bound magnificence. Many of these are the same books the rest of us older generations have grown up with. There is an inherent difference between electronic books and traditional books though which needs to be understood.
The Important Difference
Besides the obvious difference being that one is in electronic form and the other is bound traditionally, there is another significant difference. The difference is in quality. Recently the internet has given rise to the “self-published” author. As a result of self-publishing, practically anyone can author a book almost entirely uninhibited. This is not necessarily a bad thing but there is an argument which could be made regarding the quality of those authors and their work. In days gone by an author would only get published if the publishing company believed the book to be worthy. They assessed it for content, potential sales, and professionally edited the work before publishing it. This suggests a great deal of effort was placed in the production of a book prior to it even being printed. This would make the point that only good works were published thus providing the population with only quality reading material. I believe it is a result of our exposure to high quality writing which makes us think so highly of authors, but is this good?
Is It Good
I think the regard we have for authors is good, but we should be cautious about doling it out to every author we come in contact with. Not all books are created equal and the introduction of self-publishing and the ability to circumvent traditional printing furthers this notion. I will not say all self-published work is lacking in quality. I am simply suggesting we should be conscious of how we hand out reverence for individuals who write books.