Came across this article
from the AP this morning about Tom Wayne, the owner of a used book store in Kansas City.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Tom Wayne has amassed thousands of books in a warehouse during the 10 years he has run his used book store, Prospero's Books.
His collection ranges from best sellers, such as Tom Clancy's "The Hunt for Red October" and Tom Wolfe's "Bonfire of the Vanities," to obscure titles, like a bound report from the Fourth Pan-American Conference held in Buenos Aires in 1910. But when he wanted to thin out the collection, he found he couldn't even give away books to libraries or thrift shops; they said they were full.
So on Sunday, Wayne began burning his books in protest of what he sees as society's diminishing support for the printed word.
"This is the funeral pyre for thought in America today," Wayne told spectator outside his bookstore as he lit the first batch of books.
The fire blazed for about 50 minutes before the Kansas City Fire Department put it out because Wayne didn't have a permit for burning. Wayne said next time he will get a permit. He said he envisions monthly bonfires until his supply -- estimated at 20,000 books -- is exhausted.
I guess being a bibliophile, the thought of burning books just bothers me. I am intrigued that Wayne's tactics brought people to his store and some of them purchased the books to save them rather than allowing them to be burned.
I know that the trend toward "reading for pleasure" has been on the decline these past few years--and I worry that with the big-event series of Harry Potter ending in a few weeks, those numbers will decline further in the years to come--but is burning the books really the best solution? And while we did hear about people saving some of the books, will they be read?
Is there any good solution to this problem? How do we get people enthusiastic about reading?
posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/29/2007 09:36:00 AM