Professor Griff, One of the founding members of the Hip Hop Group Public Enemy and member of the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame class of 2013 gives an insightful lecture on the entertainment industry at Brave New Books in July 2013.
Public Enemy founder Professor Griff At Brave New Books
The wonder of books
Welcome to the wonderful world of books. Traditional books, e-books, new books, old books, classic books, children’s books, in fact every type of book you can imagine. We marvel in the whole concept of the written word and the wonders it can open for each of us. When you consider the range of topics, genres, types and styles available then describing it all as a world of books doesn’t seem to do it justice, and perhaps we should really say it’s a universe or solar system of books. However we look at the subject or how we describe it, there is one fact that transcends all of this: the fact is no matter who you are there is a book for you, that will engage and interest you, and we are interested in helping you see the enrichment it will bring to your life.
The early days of books
Books have been around in different formats for thousands of years, with formats changing throughout this time to suit the current requirements of the populace. When you consider the historical roots of books and the huge tasks that were required to be undertaken in the early days of book making, we should consider ourselves very fortunate to live in a time where we can download a book to our personal readers within a matter of seconds.
Great works like the bible were once only produced by hand with each letter and word being scribed by dedicated Monks, who would also recreate the elaborate coloured pictographs that depict the various stories. Books like this would literally take years to complete. Even when the early industrial age started to produce multiple copies of various works, many printing presses were attacked and destroyed by those individuals who believed the machinery to be the work of the devil due to its ability to produce more than just religious words.
Improvements in technology have helped enormously in bringing the automation of book-making to a stage where publications could be produced and distributed on such a large scale that prices have fallen to such a level to make all books affordable to all. This has helped people from all walks of life achieve levels of education and learning previously unavailable to them. In turn this has empowered people to improve their circumstances and living standards.
The advent of digital
Currently we find the age of internet connectivity and digital transfer of information has provided an open access to books far more than any previous incarnation and almost nowhere on the planet can be considered excluded from the ability to source books from ever growing electronic libraries. There are people who say that electronic books are not the same as traditional books and you cannot beat the sensation of picking through a paperback plucked from the library shelf. There can be no doubt that we do gain a certain amount of gratification from the familiar feel, smell and comfort of the traditional paper leafed book but in the same breath we cannot deny the electronic books their place in the evolution of the written word. Just because we have negated the need to set out wet ink onto a dry piece of papyrus does not mean that the emotional, intellectual and social benefits from these forms are any less.
We aim to contribute so that you can enjoy the benefits from all and any type of book no matter what your preference may be. Our objective is to highlight and inform on the ever growing range of formats to help you determine how best to enjoy your reading. We will endeavour to provide the very latest information on access to books whatever that preferred format may be.
The changing face of the publishing industry
At one time, and not so long ago, the publishing industry was flourishing with a wide range of large and small publishers along with their associated outlets and a multitude of retailers all doing well and servicing a growing and buoyant market.
The advent of digital technology however coupled with widespread internet access has made a major change to the industry and its retail sector. Recent years have seen the demise of many publishing firms and the bankruptcy of a number of large well known retailers.
It is never pleasant to see businesses face financial difficulties as it often has a knock on effect which impacts other businesses, customers, suppliers as well as employees. At the smaller end of the scale there was a significant number of small businesses operating who really struggled when the market declined and many of these businesses operated as sole traders.
They didn’t have the reserves to cope and the downward cycle for many included increased borrowings and debt, difficulty making the repayments resulting in further debt problems along with the changing market circumstances they were having to battle with.
The end result for a lot of these businesses was closure and personal financial problems for their owners since in some instances they became liable for the debts. Some were able to pay their way out of it but for others it was more serious and required legal debt management solutions such as an individual voluntary arrangement or formal bankruptcy.
The industry continues in a state of change with the leading players having to change their business models to suit and indeed take advantage of the changing requirements of the market.