Book Publishing and Freedom

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

Book publishing should represent the pinnacle of civility. It is also one of the ultimate expressions of personal  and political freedom — a freedom that should not be taken for granted.


By Edward Nawotka

Today is the July 4th holiday in the United States, the day which Americans celebrate their political independence.

All too often these days it feels like the  book business is overly obsessed with new tablet and e-reader launches, discussions of how to monetize digital models, the hunt for news ways of exploiting opportunities for personal gain, and/or railing against the old models, the system and unfair “cultural gatekeepers.” The fact that publishing and writing freely is a privilege can be easily forgotten. (If you need a gentle reminder, take a look at today’s feature story on “Exile, Literature and the High Price of Freedom“)

I believe that book publishing represents, or should represent, the pinnacle of civility. Books afford you the opportunity to engage in a meaningful, intimate, intellectual “relationship” with another person you might never otherwise encounter. It allows you to challenge yourself and grow by absorbing new and/or opposing views, hopefully expressed in a manner that is not deliberately hurtful or harmful.

And, frankly speaking, if you don’t like a book, there are another 3.2 million to choose from, and you can always write your own. To me, this is one of the ultimate expressions of personal and political freedom.

What could be more free?

Happy Independence Day.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.