Burning Books to Make a Point

May 29, 2007 @ 8:01 am | Filed under:

A bookstore owner in Missouri is burning his book collection to "protest what he sees as society’s diminishing support for the printed word."

"This is the funeral pyre for thought in America today," Wayne told
spectators outside his bookstore as he lit the first batch of books.

Strikes me as a little like cutting off your nose to spite your face, but I suppose I see his point.

Kansas City has seen the number of used bookstores decline in recent
years and there are few independent bookstores left in town, said Will
Leathem, a co-owner of Prospero’s Books.

"There are segments of this city where you go to an estate sale and find five TVs and three books," Leathem said.

of customers took advantage of the Sunday’s book-burning, searching
through those waiting to go into the fire for last-minute bargains.

Bechtel paid $10 for a stack of books, including an antique collection
of children’s literature, which he said he’d save for his 4-year-old

"I think given the fact it is a protest of people not
reading books, it’s the best way to do it," Bechtel said. "(Wayne has)
made the point that not reading a book is as good as burning it."

Ah, so it’s not just a protest, it’s a fire sale.

Do you think Tom Wayne’s bookburning will make people think about how much (or little) time they spend reading actual books? Will any passersby be moved to go home and curl up with a classic instead of reaching for the remote control? Or will they all be looking to see if they made the evening news?

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7 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Christie says:

    seems to me that burning books as a statement is so so fleeting. perhaps it would be better to destroy the books in a way that is more lasting. like make a sculpture from the charred remains. with just the event, his statement will be lost in an internet wink.

    plus, burn books? yikes! they are books!

  2. patience says:

    Er, wouldn’t he have served his cause better by donating his books to schools, hospitals, shelters, etc? Wouldn’t that have been a more proactive way to encourage support for reading? Mind you, it wouldn’t have got him on the news.

  3. Kismet says:

    I think his beef probably has more to do with where people are buying their books than whether or not they (we) are reading. If I had an estate sale there would be few books to sell because my daughters would have snagged them all for themseves. And I have to admit, the internet is so easy that I seldom patronize local book sellers as I should. I order them new or used. And I have a group that trades books.

    My 2 cents.


  4. Mary Beth P says:

    I agree with Patience, if you want to encourage people to read, make them AVAILABLE, don’t BURN them! What a travesty!

  5. Raggedjane says:

    Hi, Personally,i havent any opinion on what he did.I just dont know enough about life.But,I do know that I hate to read “literature”,meaning classics or contemporary books online.I usually buy it,and I buy it used….Reading a book online burns my eyes,makes my braincells spin like atom size tops and I become impatient.
    I just have to have the book.If I can’t buy it,I listen to it on Audiobook.
    But there is nothing like written word.
    Thankyou for asking.
    Popping in from TN

  6. LeOgAhEr says:

    I Love you girls


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