Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Buzzing books

The NY Times has an interesting article, Mommy Books: More Buzz than Buyers, that reports that all of the lively blogosphere and TV chatter around Leslie Bennetts' The Feminine Mistake hasn't translated into book sales for the $25 hardback. And I'll admit it, I haven't read the book either, but I've delved into the book's premise--that mothers who opt out of the workforce altogether risk financial ruin should divorce or death end their marriages--through reading book reviews and blogs as well as the excerpt in Glamour magazine. I've talked about it with friends.

Motherhood and the choices we make make for endlessly interesting topics when you're right in the think of it. It's emotionally charged stuff. I think working moms are happy to hear they're not ruining their children's lives and stay-at-home moms are outraged and insulted by Bennetts' argument. Mommy buzz for a nonfiction book can't be compared to mommy buzz for a consumer product like diapers. It's about the exchange of ideas, not the recommendation of one brand over another or the word-of-mouth a new product innovation might generate. And honestly, hardback books are a pricey investment. I'm a pretty big reader, but 90 percent of the books I read I check out from the library. And I don't feel bad for Bennett. By triggering such a tsunami of talk, she's got her career made.