Last Thursday (3 July) Philip Pullman met with the Chief Executive of the Publishers Association, Simon Juden, (and others) to discuss the subject, and a couple of days later those of us who have signed the No to Age Banding petition received his report of that meeting. All I can say is I feel pretty glad we've got Philip Pullman as a spoke-person! Here are a couple of extracts from his report:
"Simon Juden opened by acknowledging in guarded and cautious terms that the presentation of this matter from their side had perhaps not been ideal, but that he and the publishers were very anxious to stress that their intention had never been to impose age-guidance (that is the term they prefer to use) on authors without full consultation, and that he thought it would be a good idea to take some of the emotion out of the discussion and simply deal with the facts.
I replied that I'd rather call it passion, and that I'd rather it stayed in, thank you very much, because the sheer volume and intensity of the anger caused by the proposal was entirely part of what we wanted to express. I went on to ask various questions about the research..."
|"The central issue became this: we wanted them to agree that no book should be age-banded without the author's consent. They refused to agree to this, but offered 'full consultation' instead. We pointed out that every author in the world knows what 'consultation' means: it means the publishers saying 'This is the cover of your new book' and our saying 'Well it's horrible' and their replying 'Well, tough.' 'Full' consultation, I suppose, would mean that plus lunch."|
The reasons against age banding are so logical and strong that I won't bother trying to represent them here - there are others that are far more eloquent on the subject than I could be (go and read Philip Pullman in The Guardian and Anthony Horowitz in The Bookseller). Last week J. K. Rowling added her support and signed the petition that is fast approaching 3,000 signatories.