I don’t want to spread fear and panic across the Internet – and I surely won’t – but hot news from the UK’s Arts Council is that sales of literary fiction are down. The reason? People prefer Candy Crush.
Seriously. Literary fiction is difficult and costly and people prefer to play cheaper games on their smartphones. That’s what we’ve been given, ladies and gentlemen. You cannot make this up.
For clarity, the data is culled from Nielsen and covers physical sales, as far as I can see. And if it is Nielsen data then you know it ignores self-published novels. What I find most interesting is the assumption that traditional literary fiction is expensive. Let’s face it, the cost of production of a 400 page novel is the same whether it is Shakespeare or a Drongo as the author. This means literary fiction is expensive because traditional publishers make it so. Big whoop.
The other element that made me titter was the idea that the target market for Candy Crush (it is explicitly cited as an app) is the same as for some grandiose statement on the human condition. Methinks not.
On a more positive note, the same data trawl showed that the crime genre is alive and well, although most of the victims are quite naturally dead.