Tuesday, May 29, 2007

1933 and where?

This made me irate:
A modern-day book burning
Midtown shop owner protests what he sees as a diminishing support for the printed word. (AP)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, First Amendment rights. It's just incredibly ironic.

I got an email alert to sign a petition to the guy. I did. Apparently he's considering donating them to one of several organizations that's offered to take them off his hands.


Torgo said...

This guy was on As It Happens from the CBC tonight. He brought up several good points. Among them, the big booksellers (like BN) and online booksellers throw away thousands of books each month. That's true. The BN I worked at would sometimes toss a hundred books a day in the dumpster, and the publishers wouldn't let us recycle them. The warehouse guy was always annoyed at that. Also, it's increasingly difficult to give books away. He talked about Goodwill and prisons. I found out about prisons when I tried to give books away in MA. They only accept books new from big chains, shipped directly from the warehouse (I also knew this from having friends and family of inmates try to send them books from the store -- we had to have them shipped from the warehouse).

Rainster said...

There's still something about seeing books burning that makes my heart stop. I think I would have less of a problem if they were tossed in a recycling bin.

Torgo said...

Good point, but it always bugged me to see a dumpster full of books, knowing that not only won't they be read, but they won't be recycled.

I think the guy (at least on the radio interview) was trying to raise awareness of those practices. And, despite his saying it wasn't his motivation, I think he was trying to sell books.

Also, one other point he made that I agree with, after working in a bookstore for years, touching thousands upon thousands of books, 99.9% of which are more like "Scrapbooking for Dummies" and not Chekhov or Vonnegut, they do become a commodity or product.

Rainster said...

Yeah, I understand the guy's reasonings -- and obviously he's gotten the publicity/awareness he wanted. It's a brilliant stunt. And has been good for business...

I can think of a better ways to "save" books from the growing unappreciative masses. Like starting a business that recycles them. Or creating programs within publishing houses to take back and then print on re-recycled book pages.

I wouldn't read "Scrapbooking for Dummies," but I'm sure there are societies of little old ladies out there that would. Aren't ... there?

Torgo said...

At BN, there were two types of books that got tossed: mass market paperbacks, like romance novels, sci-fi, etc., and bargain books. We'd always offer the paperbacks to employees, but when you have 30 copies of some bad romance novel, most end up in the trash.

Xtina said...

late to the party here --

i get the guy's point, for sure. and he got attention. but it still seems counter productive to me. somehow, i can't see someone who really loves books burning them. even the crappy books i have i couldn't bring myself to burn or even throw away, because i always think, "maybe there's someone else out there who would enjoy this."

this is pure speculation, but i just picture some guy who's all cocky, like "this is what happens you uneducated plebians!" but he's really just doing it to drum up business. it kind of reminds me of the story of king solomon and the two mothers -- this guy seems like the mother who's like "sure, tear the baby in half!"

if i wanted to make the same point i might do the things that rainster suggested, or, if i wanted to be creative and not as practical, i might take my books and build a little house with them, and then camp out in the little house. same amount of attention, no books destroyed.

Rainster said...

Reverend, you are more articulate than I. Me just say no burn books, very bad.

But even with the crappy romances, aren't there nursing homes filled with old ladies that will read them? And even if stuff has to be discarded, it should still be recycled, not thrown in the garbo!

Torgo said...

I like the house of books idea. That story would interest the CBC and NPR, at least.