Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Does this make you appreciate books?

In 2002, the National Endowment for the Arts found that fewer than half of adults surveyed read for pleasure (presumably, some of those adults still read because they must), and that number had declined since 1987. Quick math check: that was about five years ago. Right?

Okay. So now the owner of a Missouri-based independent bookstore has pondered the problem and come up with a solution. He'll burn his books. That'll teach 'em to love books!

I'm serious. Here's the Associated Press article about Tom Wayne, owner of Prospero's Books who'd rather see books destroyed than wait for a good home.

Here's the thing. I'm a book publicist who conducts book promotion campaigns to encourage people to read books. I love books. I love words. I love the people who write them. I love the companies that publish them. I love the people who read them. I love everything there is to love about books.

But this book publicist's quirk is: I don't love books enough to burn them. And I don't love books enough to understand, or to try to defend, anyone who thinks burning books is a way to pay homage to books.

Forgive me, Tom Wayne, but what you're doing strikes me as destructive. I hope you don't get a permit that would allow you to burn tens of thousands of additional books.

As a matter of fact, I fervently hope that you lose the privilege of being able to legally light a match.