Friday, June 3, 2011
Looks Like People Still Like Actual Books
I was watching the fifth inning of Ken Burns' great baseball documentary recently. Part of that episode covers the 1930's, and one of the controversies discussed in that episode was Cincinnati Reds owner Larry MacPhail's decision to broadcast all of the Reds' games on the radio. For Free! His fellow baseball owners said he was crazy, that nobody would pay to come to the games anymore when they could just switch on their radios and hear all of the action. What happened instead, of course, is that Reds' attendance grew, as the fan base expanded, and women began to take an interest in the game.
My Wikipedia says that it was a guy named Robert Englund who said, "What's old is new again." And what brings this all up is the hubbub surrounding the publication of Adam Mansbach's Go The Fuck to Sleep. The problem started when a pdf of the complete book, including pictures, spread around the internet. You can download it here if you want (or you could pay money and order it from us here). Even though the book could be viewed in its entirety for free, it shot to #1 on Am***n and stayed there. The publisher, Akashic Press, rushed the book out to capitalize on all of the interest. And now the book is on our shelves and, yes, it is selling.
Because the fact is, you may be able to view a book like this on your laptop or your tablet, but you're not going to leave those gadgets lying on the proverbial (or literal) coffee table, turned on, ready to be flipped through on the merest whim. Books are like that, no power source needed, waiting on the shelf, some of them even looking pretty snazzy, ready when you are.