Cash For Old Books
I heartily approve of the government’s Cash For Clunkers program. It’s a pleasure to finally see money going directly to consumers for buying a new product (a car) and thereby aiding a troubled auto industry. But I also think this program is discriminatory. Why, after all, should only old and no longer wanted vehicles get a government subsidy? Why should only motorists get a government buying aid? And why should only car makers enjoy the resulting spin off benefits?
I not only write books, I also read a lot of them, and indeed have a hefty collection of old titles in my bookcase. I would love to be able to walk into a bookstore, hand in the titles I no longer want around the house for a bit of government cash that could be applied to the purchase of new titles—many of which I would love to buy but can’t currently afford.
I should add that there are probably more book readers than car drivers in this country. And I can definitely say that the publishing industry is in straits as dire as car makers, and could certainly use a boost from government.
There’s also the libraries angle. I love libraries. Always have. Always will. But in Philadelphia where I live they are currently a challenged institution. They have already been closed on weekends because of budget restrictions, and the mayor here has even said they might have to be closed altogether if the state doesn’t resolve its seemingly endless effort to reach a balanced budget. More salient to this piece, Philly’s libraries have also had to cut down dramatically on book purchases, which, for a reader like myself is very painful stuff indeed.
A cash for old books program would be a tremendous boom to hard pressed libraries in my town and yours as well. So let’s do it. And as for the old books brought in, let’s not, emphasis NOT, destroy them the way car clunkers are now being destroyed. That would be sinful. Instead, let’s ship them overseas to foreign lands where a great many people hunger for English language aids, and where many schools are woefully short on books.
Save libraries. Save the publishing industry. Save literacy from the Newspeak idiocy called twittering.
Cash for old books! All power to the literate classes!