A bookstore owner from Kansas City, Missouri is fed up with the declining book sales that he has experienced, blaming TV and the Internet as the forces behind this change. So, to make a statement, he has decided to burn his collection in public. He began on Sunday, piling up books from his estimated 20,000 unit collection that he has been storing at a warehouse since opening his store, Prospero’s Books, a decade ago. The fire burned for 50 minutes before the Kansas City Fire Department arrived to put it out, due to the fact that Wayne didn’t have a permit. He says that next month, he will have a permit and will continue to obtain them once a month until his collection is gone, a thought that would horrify any reading enthusiast or book collector.

Ironically, his actions seemed to have helped his sales as spectators approached Wayne with offers for books that he was planning to burn. One man bought a stack of books for $10.00. What was even more ironic was that Wayne found himself unable to give his books away to libraries or thrift shops previously because they claimed to be full. The public had no interest in them either. A 2002 study by the National Endowment for the Arts found that less than half of the adults who participated read for pleasure. In 1982, this number was 57 percent. In terms of using books to access information, the speed and efficiency of TV and the Internet has made books obsolete in that department.

Usually, the point of burning books is so that they cannot be read, but Tom Wayne is making the point the is trying to make with the action is that if books are not going to be read, they are as useless as burning them. After all, the books that end up getting burned are the ones that end up becoming the most read because no one wants to be told what to do, and the public will rebel from anything that is holding them back.

For related articles visit http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/05/28/book.burning.ap/index.html and



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