The Complementary WBN idea (which I'll explain in a minute) created so much support last year that I found myself on Newsnight, and quoted in many newspaper articles. In fact, the lovely Julia Kingsford, CEO of WBN, asked to meet me later to discuss what could be done the next year. We met. And, as far as I can see, absolutely nothing was taken on board. I'm sorry, Julia, and I'm grateful to you for talking to me, but I just don't think I got through to you at all. I have logged that as one of my failures.
After I blogged last year, and after WBN was over, I was contacted by a wide variety of people high up in the book industry, who had not been able to speak out, who favoured my simpler, cheaper, more heart-warming idea. They all hoped I would do it again. Some of them asked where I was going to get funding. I have no funding. The idea at this stage needs no funding. That's one reason why it is a good idea.
Last week, I was chatting to someone in publishing, and she said words to this effect: "Sadly, it seems that the whole industry has given up and is simply going along with WBN. I hope people follow your idea though!"
- It's unnecessarily expensive.
- It's absurdly unnecessarily complicated.
- It involves a prescribed list. (I don't object to the books on the list. I object to there being a list at all.)
- I can't see how it helps authors or publishing (except the authors and publishers of the prescribed books.)
- It does not directly produce book-sales, which bookshops badly need.
- It involves the special printing of a million books, rather than selling a million copies of normally printed books.
- Therefore it is wasteful of time, money and resources.
WBN is 23rd April, so that's the target date for doing this.
How lovely it is to give a book. To give a book to someone who might love it, who might not otherwise have read it, or who might not have read anything, who might not have access to books. Indeed, it is. But how much better it feels to give a book that you have bought, thereby helping your chosen author, your chosen bookshop and your chosen reader.