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Friday, June 01, 2007

Books Held Hostage

I am reluctant to give Prospero's Books more publicity but their marketing techniques really, really offend me. If I were in Kansas City, I would make it a point to avoid the store just based on what I've seen from them in the last few days. By now most of us know of the fake book burning that the store owners used to bring attention to the fact that they have some 20,000 books in stock that they can't easily move. In some misguided attempt to place blame for their excess inventory on someone other than themselves, the guys decided to point the finger at a reading public that is somehow letting them down by not reading or appreciating books to the degree that the owners think they should.

So Prospero's decided to burn a few books and to threaten to continue the process unless buyers showed up to take the rest of them off their hands. It's all our fault of course, so we should feel guilty enough to rush to the rescue. After all, are there any book lovers out there who don't shudder at the thought of a book burning? I doubt it.

Now we have Prospero's hawking the books this way on the store website:

Save a Book

For $1 a book (+ postage), you can save these books from the flame. We will not take these dollars as profit, but will use them to publish new books.
1. email these stories to your friends
2. call your local TV, radio, newspaper, blogs, etc. and tell them what is going on
3. For $1 a book (+ postage), you can save these books from the flame. We will not take these $s as profit, but will use them to publish new books.

Many of you have great ideas regarding what can be done with these books that's better than burning them - we agree with you, and encourage YOU to get involved in sharing the gift of literature. For $1 a book + postage, you can support your local school, prison, etc.
In other words, pay the ransom or the books burn.

How disgusting.
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