November 11, 2008

Boycott libraries

AS IF things weren’t bad enough already, librarians are getting in on the act. My local newspaper recently published an article by two local librarians who ask: “Is the economic downturn changing your lifestyle?”

Their answer to this drastic state of affairs is to urge people to visit the library. “You can escape to an exotic place through books,” they say, “a delicious break from the daily news.”

Non-librarians might notice a tiny flaw in the logic here. Hiding from the economic downturn is not going to change things for the better, surely? Well of course not. Not if you give it a moment’s thought.

But never mind that. What interests me more than their lack of logic is their lack of concern for us writers, the very people who provide the raw material that fills their libraries.

I mean, you take us boating writers. How do those librarians (hiss!) think we’re going to survive the hard times if people read our books in libraries instead of buying them, as any honest decent person should?

It’s cheating to borrow boating books from the library. We boating writers get nothing from that. We get precious little from books that are sold to nice people (less than 10 percent of the cover price, mostly) but we get absolutely nothing from the people who are seduced into entering libraries. They can suck the marrow from our brain bones without adding a cent to their credit-card debt. I mean, is that fair?

I’ve spent years learning how to write sentences that don’t end in prepositions. I’ve spent a lifetime learning how to sail nicely. I’ve studied which boats are best for crossing oceans and I have qualifications that would almost make a naval architect or a professional captain green with envy. I know hydrodynamics and aerodynamics and which sailboats are babe magnets.

And I write all this good stuff down in books with the aim of selling it to needy people. You have to agree that’s providing information and entertainment to the public and earning an honorable living for me.

Or it would be, if the librarians (hiss!) weren’t white-anting me and giving away all my knowledge for nothing.

They look so harmless, even appealing, as they sit there in their knitted sweaters and sensible shoes, reading fairy tales to groups of ankle-biters whose minds they hope to warp and indoctrinate by luring them into libraries at a very young age. But if you look into their steely eyes you’ll see hate; hate for writers; especial hate for boating writers.

“Don’t buy books,” they tell the kids. “Just come here and read them for free. We’ve got all the Vigor books. You don’t need to subsidize the likes of him.”

Pretty soon, the likes of me will die out. There will be no more writers. We’ll be flipping hamburgers instead of writing. There will be no more books. There will be no more libraries. And, praise the lord, there will be no more cruel librarians (hiss!).

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Kristen said...

Don't forget about the evil humans (the horror!) selling your books used on Amazon. I know cuz I bought one there (sorry!).

You're probably safe from the library throngs, seems as though boating books are ones to which we constantly refer...not convenient to trek there each time!

LOVE your blog!

Mike said...

There is a reason to support the libraries John. There I get a chance to preview a book to see if the writer does know what they are talking about as well is able to write a complete sentence. If I like the looks of the book then I can add it to my library by purchasing it from my favorite bookseller.

Please don't stop writing, you're too good. Please rest assured that underpaid artists and writers make the world a better place and will be held in a much higher esteem by those of use who enjoy good writing.

Mr. Crook said...

Next thing you know some writer is going to start posting humorous boat articles on the Internet for free! Scandalous!

Besides can boat owners afford to buy books? From what I've seen they can't even afford pants that go all the way down to their ankles!

Keep up the great writing!