Death by Books

A search for the real dangers in books, who they've hurt, killed or maimed, and the reasons why they are so feared by governments and religions everywhere.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Will work for books...

I would just like to share a little bit with everybody one of the great new wonders of the internet For example, in my last post I said I was reading some of the Chinese classics. One of the books I've been reading is Cao Xue Qin's The Story of the Stone. This book is available for free in text format along with 1000s of other books not restricted under copyright laws.

Of note, I continue to find the computer a most unpleasant medium for reading. There are so many obvious advantages to the medium, such as linking/relating content to sources or other mediums with a simply web link, or including multi-media directly in the content itself. But its not mobile, its not tactile, books are so much easier to embrace, to feel comfortable with, to "possess". I have all these files on my computer but they belong to the computer. The books on my shelf... they belong to ME.

Consequently, and somewhat humorously, even though I downloaded the 3000 pages of The Story of the Stone from I still ended up paying $90 for the 5 volume Penguin set to be sent to me by (one of the few ways that I can receive books in Vietnam without having to have them reviewed by the censor before receiving them - of courese I'm a white guy, Vietnamese locals still have to pass the censor).

One of things I miss from all my jobs of the past is working at the book distributor in South SF. I bring this up, because there is a certain criminal element (in my hubmle opinion) to the Penguin publishing house. Penguin, in general, is great. They publish all the classics of literature and as noted above have even been expanding into the classics of Asian literature.

On one hand these books are hundreds, even thousands of years old. On the other hand they need to make money off their publishings. Consequently every month I used to have to restock several classic volumes with new copies that were $0.25 more expensive. Yes, you read that right, every month. Now there are several possible reasons for this. Most likely though it because people aren't buying books like they used to and cover their margins that have to increase the price. But what happens to the old priced books? Their front covers are torn off and they thrown away. What a tremendous waste!!!

First they cut down the trees. Then make the paper and publisht the books. Then to cover their margins they tear off the covers and throw them away. But whose replanting the trees?


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