Is there something you can do about the terrible news (layoffs, freezes, disappearing profit margins) emanating from the publishing industry over the last couple of weeks?
Yes, says author John Scalzi. Buy some books. Look at your gift list, think hard about books, and then make this the most bookish holiday season possible.
And then here's an even better idea from a reader/responder to Scalzi's blog: "If you have no one to buy any books for, consider buying some books for those less fortunate. I did my 'enbookenating' via Child’s Play this year, for the children’s hospital in New Orleans."
If you're not aware of any local book drives, Google "Christmas book drives 2008" and then add the name of your city. I just tried this with my hometown (Boston) and discovered that today, in fact, Boston College is holding a book drive for kids.
Even easier, you might check your local Barnes & Noble. I know that the one nearest me allows you to pick from various children's titles when you ring up your purchases. You pay, inscribe the book if you like, and then they make sure the book reaches a child who needs an extra gift.
There are so many reasons to take a moment to do this. A child will get a book, the publishing industry will be grateful, and you will feel a glow. I can't think of too many other under-$20 purchases that offer that kind of return.