Friday, October 3, 2008

The Mystery of the Vanishing Dollar

I don’t have to tell you that the economy is in the tank. I think all of us know that everything from gas to milk to healthcare costs more; housing values have plummeted; jobs are disappearing. We’re all more nervous about our futures, unsure when, if ever, we can retire.

Though most of us think books are as vital as oxygen for our existence, a shaky economy means that there is less disposable income. Books sadly become luxury items. Book buyers are becoming a rare breed, with fewer dollars to spend. I think the big publishers are less willing to take a chance on unknown authors who don’t yet have proven track records. Even worse, public library budgets are being slashed. And here’s the conundrum: According to the American Library Association, in the face of economic hardship, visits to libraries and circulation are on the rise…and yet, budget pressures are forcing many libraries across the country to scale back hours or close.

Despite the fact that Wall Street and Main Street are both struggling, I think the case can be made that now, more than ever, we need cozy mysteries. As the wonderful Carolyn Hart, author of the Death on Demand series, explained, she writes traditional mysteries (she loathes the term, cozies), because in her world, the good guys always win. While we deal with the practical, often dispiriting, issues of life, we need escapes that capture our imaginations and make us laugh. We need heroes and heroines who make sure that good triumphs over evil; that wealth and power don’t trump honesty and hard work.

I can't begin to fix this economy, but the Sullivan Investigation mysteries are Evelyn David's investment in the future -- our readers, ourselves. We believe that a world of books is the foundation of a strong economy - in dollars and sense.

Evelyn David

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