Tuesday, April 29, 2008

BUYER'S REMORSE


This is Manchester railway station's bookstore, though it could be anywhere. It's an entire display of child abuse autobiographies (typified by Dave Pelzer's archetype A Child Called It), or I should say 'autobiographies' because this trend in the publishing industry is so popular now, the demand so voracious, that it's clear that most of this stuff must be fiction. These powerful microtrends can be observed at Amazon, where should you dare investigate even just one of these related genres (eating disorders is another good example) you can expect to be bombarded with countless recommendations from the site.

This fuelling of perceived reader expectations to the extent of fictionalisation and invention is not new in itself - in fact it's long been the lifeblood of magazines and newspapers; the innovation is the sheer speed with which this stuff can be delivered into the hands of the consumers.

4 comments:

SYpHA_69 said...

We have an abuse section at the Barnes & Noble I work at, but it's only like two shelves (then again, the Barnes & Noble I work at is pretty small). The only book that seems to sell in great numbers is the aforementioned "A Child Called It." Far more popular, at least at the bookstore I work at, are the Oprah picks, mostly New Age type stuff, such as Tolle's "A New Earth" or "The Secret" (which has been on the bestseller list for what seems like aeons now).

John McAndrew said...

I remember seeing a wall of these books when I visited Glasgow a year or so ago with friends and being genuinely astounded that the shop had a section called "Painful Lives". And I'm sure I've raised this issue before with friends when visiting Woolworths (yes, Woolworths!) and remarking that almost all of the books in their chart were tales of child abuse and suffering. They aren't even feminist tales of empathy, it's purely a grimmer extension of the erotica section. This hypocrisy has reached a new height in lowness - why the UK media can't just print a full page headline saying "we fucking love child abuse (and you do too)" I don't know.

Ea-M. said...

Looks like dogma film scripts or perhaps the future of danish film industry in general...

mcarpio said...

hey william, i know this isn't right in line with the subject of this post, but i just watched "the assassination of richard nixon" last night, don't know if you've seen it already...i was simply floored by sean penn's performance, toally mesmerizing in the pathos/weakness/obsesssion of the main character. what an amazing range his talent has covered, i remember the trailer for that movie from the early part of this decade in which he plays a retarded man trying to live on his own, just seemed too much of a tear-fest to even try watching, so never have...just wanted to recommend the above.
best, michael