I was just watching a discussion between independent book publishers on C-SPAN 2 Book TV this morning, which was originally recorded March 20th, 2008. First of all, I feel the need to point out that these “independent” book publishers may be thinking of themselves in rather anachronistic terms as “independents” in relation to the larger publishing houses of New York, where the meeting took place (in Brooklyn) and have not considered that truly “independent” book publishing, these days, is being done by the authors, themselves. So, what this handful of “independents” really are is small press book publishers.

That distinction aside, the main thing that struck me about this discussion was the mention of the March 20th, 2008 extinction of Borders Books stores and its implications for the future of the book industry, as well as for the range of choice of readers.

There was some speculation as to whether or not Borders would then be absorbed by Barnes & Noble, the largest book seller chain in the world and, it would seem that’s probably going to be the case. One of the speakers said that, at one time, New York City used to have over 300 book stores and that now it has only 30. I thought about this for a moment and realized that, here is a city of 8 million or so people, also, the city with the largest number of book publishers in the world, and yet, it only has about 30 book stores, whereas, I live in Oklahoma City, which claims a metro area population of around one million and yet, I know of at least 15 book stores just within the northwest quadrant of Oklahoma City and, I’m certain there are many I’ve overlooked. This includes the chain stores as well as the independent “mom & pop” stores, what few still exist. This is quite a contrast to New York, which is billed as the literary capital of the world, while Oklahoma City is popularly denigrated as a backward “small town” full of illiterate hicks.

Aside from these contrasts between my city and New York, the broader discussion also mentioned that there has been an amazing contraction and consolidation of the book publishing industry and I believe this is due, in no small part, to the advent of the internet, which is supplanting both books and magazines, as well as television, among most Americans. I know that, personally, I now get most of my news from the internet instead of television and most of my reading is done online instead of in books and magazines. This appears to be the way things are headed and, with so many people waking up to the mainstream mass media’s domination by corporatist interests, this is no surprise.

The globalist trend toward consolidation has affected not only manufacturing and retailing, but has, also, affected mass communications. Despite the fact there are now more television channels than ever before in the history of the medium, it remains the case that the medium, itself, has been dominated and controlled by the global elite from its very birth as an instrument of propaganda and mind control. Thus, the popular illusion that the choice of information outlets on television has expanded greatly is a myth. While the number of channels may have increased, they are all saying the same thing and disseminating the same propaganda, as usual.

So, too, is the book publishing industry, and one needn’t look any farther than their nearest Barnes & Noble store to see this. The next time you find yourself there, take a good look at the titles in the “Current Affairs” section and you will see that most of the books there are either touting the neoconservative or the neoliberal worldview – in other words, the same thing, thinly (and falsely) disguised as opposing viewpoints, though they are not. Aside from a few (very few) books by David Ray Griffin and maybe one or two others, you will find little there that says 9/11 was an inside job and, aside from these, you will find absolutely nothing that exposes the New World Order for what it is or raises any questions about PNAC and the true neocon agenda to create a global police state. For that kind of reading material in a “brick and mortar” book store, you’ll have to find a truly independent “mom & pop” store, such as Austin, Texas’ Brave New Books, or one of the John Birch Society’s American Opinion bookstores, like the one we have here. Other than this, your only outlet for finding the truth in print media is to be found online.