Friday, September 12, 2014

Megalomaniacal billionaires and their hoards of lifeless accountants

GUEST: Dick Hermans, owner and manager of Oblong Books & Music in Rhinebeck and Millerton, talks about how and why local bookstores are coming back.

We talked about more than the invasion of digital books. We focused on the corporatization of the publishing industry, and how profits have driven out all other considerations. Values like promoting good literature and nurturing the next generation of gifted writers are just distant memories in the world of modern book selling. Where the bottom line was always about making a profit, now there is simply nothing else.

The resurgence of small bookstores is part of the resistance to neoliberalism. Barnes and Noble has boring books, with an inventory often limited to best sellers and remainders of coffee table tomes printed in China. Browsing a good local bookstore is almost like listening to someone else's ideas. If the bookstore is a good one, the owners invest time in finding and offering intellectually stimulating publications, the reverse of loading up on books that millions of Americans buy. 

Arts have never been about majority tastes. Profit diminishes the scope and intellectual range of a nation's writers. In this time of late empire, take refuge in independent bookstores, where ideas aren't limited by megalomaniacal billionaires and their hoards of lifeless accountants.

No comments:

Post a Comment