Why Does Burning Books Always Seems To Be the Solution?

Because no one was buying his remainders, a Kansas City bookseller decided to torch his back catalog:

In the 10 years Tom Wayne has operated Prospero’s Books, a used bookstore in midtown Kansas City, he has amassed thousands of books in a warehouse.Ranging from best sellers such as Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October and Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities, to obscure titles such as a bound report from the Fourth Pan-American Conference held in Buenos Aires in 1910 and a textbook on beginning Polish, the books won’t sell. Wayne said even local libraries and thrift stores have told him they were full.

On Sunday, Wayne began putting them to the torch, tossing scores of books into a burning cauldron to protest what he sees as society’s diminishing support for the printed word.

I wonder why thrift stores and libraries (always in competition to see who gets to take people’s unwanted crap) didn’t want a twenty year old spy thriller about the Soviets or a hundred year old technical report in Spanish? Every day, someone comes into my office demanding twenty year old best sellers and hundred year old lists of things on display at a minor world expo, in Spanish. If only he had our number!

One of the most frustrating aspects of working in a library is the donations. Instead of gently used, current items that might be of some use to others, we typically get whatever crap was sitting on someone’s grandmother’s shelf when they shipped the old lady off to a nursing home and sold her house. It’s either a toss up as to send that box of moldy French cookbooks to the Art school Library or take them to Goodwill. Reycling them never occurs to anyone.

It’s nice that you’re concerned about the declining interest in the printed word (a concern greatly unfounded and wildly exaggerated but hay maybe if you read a book now and again, you’d know that). But for the love of Harry, don’t set your books on fire! Then no one can read them.

1 thought on “Why Does Burning Books Always Seems To Be the Solution?”

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