Monday, May 28, 2007

Book Burning...Bad? Good? Mix?

This is an interesting news story about a book store owner in Kansas City, MO, who is burning a sizeable number of books that he cannot even give away. In doing so, he is accomplishing several things:

  • He is decrying the decline of reading in today's media-driven world.
  • He is dramatizing the demise of many independent book stores.
  • He is probably getting rid of some really junky books.
  • He is promoting reading and his own business in a dramatic and attention-getting manner.

As a librarian and lifelong book lover, I do know that all books are not worth saving. No library collection can thrive without weeding. The same is true for a home collection of books. And many books are not worth donating either. You are doing no one a favor if you "contribute" books with biased, inaccurate, or dated information. I have a copy of "Someday You Will Go to the Moon," a relic of my childhood. I also have some other old, outdated, and very politically incorrect books that I keep for the memories. But they are not viable for any other reason. Furthermore, I have no illusions about the two books I have written thus far. One, in particular, should be ready to burn in not so many years. It is Internet and Personal Computing Fads, whose title I never really liked, and whose contents will certainly be hopelessly outdated relatively soon because of rapidly changing technology. I would like to think my second book about cyberethics might have a bit more staying power, but it too has a limited life span.

So what is my opinion of this guy burning a bunch of books? Overall I think it is a cool (hot?) idea! I am assuming he is burning items that have little or no worth. Even a copy of Edith Hamilton is fair game if it is a paperback that falls apart in your hands. He is getting people to think about reading and the value of books, and that is good!

PS To get to the original story, click on the title to this entry. Do visit the website. It is very interesting.

1 comment:

  1. Yea!! for you. It is good to see an open minded librarian. You make an interesting point about how if it is outdated than burn it. So it is my conclusion that all books most be burned an only the important ones be kept in an electronic format. Book burning is amazing and fun. I personally can't wait until every memory of Thoreau and Emerson is burned away.