Maintaining the Primacy of the Book
Thursday, May 3, 2018
[At BISG’s Annual Meeting of Members, held April 27 in New York, we recognized board attorney and lifelong first-amendment advocate Michael Bamberger with the Sally Dedecker Lifetime Service Award, renamed in 2018 to recognize the contributions of one of our longest-serving and most active members. Michael’s remarks on receiving the award struck a chord with the audience, and we present them here.]
I am honored and pleased to have received this award. I am especially pleased to accept an award named after Sally Dedecker.
When I first became counsel for BISG nearly 20 years ago, Sally was already associated with BISG. Throughout the years, I had the privilege of working with and chatting with Sally. She was an intelligent, charming, and helpful person, who did not hesitate to tell me when she disagreed with me, but did it in a wonderfully calm, soft way so that one was not offended.
I am also pleased to receive this award because it is about books and the book industry. On a very personal level, I care for books. I grew up in a home with literally thousands of books though, in the interest of full disclosure, since my father was an academic, a majority of them were philosophical works published in the 17th and 18th centuries. In fact, years later, my father published a small book entitled "Books are the Best Things," an anthology from old Hebrew writings.
Books can be many things: they can be funny, they can be uplifting, they can be informative, they can be physically beautiful, they can be educational, they can be angry polemics, they can be literary, they can be wonderfully written, they can be poorly written, and much more. And all of them are important.
Books are a significant mode of communication from the author to those who read the book, be they many or few. And importantly they last – as shown by my father's collection of 17th and 18th century books, or Mr. Gutenberg's Bible. The same cannot necessarily be said of blogs or tweets.
So I salute all of you who labor to maintain the primacy of the book, whether hardcover, paperback, electronic, or whatever comes next. And, I thank you for this recognition.