Friday, November 27, 2009

We're All Doomed!

The New York Times and some San Francisco books stores believe the world, as they know it, is soon to end. According to them, the twin monsters known as WalMart and Glenn Beck are on the verge of killing off liberal thought. In the best tradition of Chicken Little, the Times has this to say about the discounting of a handful of bestselling hardcovers by WalMart, Amazon and Target:
So if this is all a scheme to control those influential bestsellers, just what would a future look like if, say, Wal-Mart became the last bookstore standing?

A visit to Wal-Mart stores in Oakland and Mountain View revealed a remarkably limited selection, a narrow worldview and a political bent that can be summed up best with two words: Glenn Beck. The Oakland Wal-Mart carried only 21 hardcover titles: Mr. Beck’s “Arguing With Idiots” (plus the audio book) and his holiday offering, “The Christmas Sweater”; “Going Rogue” by Sarah Palin; the book of Carrie Prejean, the dethroned Miss California, “Still Standing”; and titles from the Rev. Rick Warren and the television minister Joel Osteen.
Praveen Madan, co-owner of The Booksmith in San Francisco, disagrees with this fear. He said people would not start “reading this rightist propaganda literature instead of reading more worthy things” simply because the books cost less.

Mr. Madan said bookstores were more threatened by the recession and e-books than the current price war. Censorship? Not with the Internet selling virtually every book. He, Ms. Caldwell and Mr. Petrocelli — all independent bookstore owners — sell online, and even Wal-Mart’s Web site has a larger, more diverse inventory.
Mr. Madan, at least, is bringing a little common sense to the scare tactics of the Times. He knows that his Bay area customers are not likely to buy "rightist propaganda" as long as he continues to be their supplier of "leftist propaganda." Don't think so? Just read what another bookstore owner there has to say about the Palin book:
“It’s like buying porn,” he said. “People might want to buy it, but they don’t want to be seen buying it in the Bay Area.”

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