Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Book burning: it’s not just for Nazis anymore


Prospero’s Books is a (putting it kindly) midlevel used bookstore in KC, MO that could never live up its title both as a reference to The Tempest and a Peter Greenaway film। I have been to the dump a few times, never leaving with any satisfying purchases. I found the place poorly set-up, pretentious and stocked with mediocre books and high prices. It is not surprising that the proprietor would conduct himself in this way, considering the guy has no clue how to run a decent bookshop. The biggest problem he has encountered when trying to give away his overstock is that no one wants it. Well, god knows I didn’t want his overpriced mid-grade fiction ($10 for a very used and very worn paperback of Byatt’s Babel Tower? C’mon…) and I certainly didn’t share his fondness for out-of-date books that look decorative and serve no purpose. If anyone ought to be accused of promoting illiteracy its shop owners that make a buck off some bullshit leather bound, poorly translated “classics.” Maybe the problem with giving away overstock is that his store kind of sucks so, naturally, his rejects truly suck. Or that he lives in a town that, while there are some great people there (what up, Xtop and Matty), is not, um, interested in independent bookstores. Or books in general. Probably not… never mind. Forgive my urban snobbery. There are some fine used and new bookshops in KC, just not the one referenced in the attached article.

Anyway, this story would be upsetting if it were any other store burning what I am sure are better books। So let’s all have a read and marvel at the idiocy.