Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Book Fair Pimping

Tomorrow is the start of the book fair and unfortunately for me (and many other people), it's moved from the very-accessible Mega Mall to the semi-posh World Trade Center.

I honestly wonder if this entails a decrease in the amount of people attending the book fair.

Book Theft

Any serious reader has probably gone through the motions of book theft, whether it's not "returning" a book you borrowed (whether from a friend or the library), stealing a book from a bookstore, to reading and distributing ebooks from the Internet.

For the first one, while it's probably been done a few times to me, I was never tempted to do so to another person or institute. I mean doing so would deprive others of that book, and I've always kept in mind that I'm not the center of the universe. Not returning books you borrowed would not really help spread the love of reading. That and you might start losing friends, not to mention library privileges.

The second one is probably more tempting for other people. I mean the bookstore's not a person, after all. It's a big business owned by a rich person. Stealing one book won't matter, right? For me, stealing a book from a bookstore is actually doing a transgression on several people. First are the employees of the store. Eventually, they will get blamed. It's their responsibility, after all. Second, against the store. I mean they're already trying to provide us with books. If everyone stole a book from them, then the business stops being profitable. Unprofitable bookstores soon end up being nonexistent bookstores. Third crime is against the writer. If you want the writer to continue writer, make sure he/she gets income (please, as much as a writer wants to get his/her work distributed, the author also wants to get paid for his efforts... popularity doesn't pay the bills, nor does it put food on the table; authors aren't starving writers by preference). Fourth strike is against the publisher; they're the ones risking their money on the author. Most writers are usually associated with a popular publishing label. Publishers, while they aren't necessary in publishing a book, do make it accessible for the masses and usually find a way to make it affordable. Honestly, if you're just going to do book theft, tell me. I'll buy you the book. (And while larger bookstores like National Bookstore might not really feel the impact of book theft, it does hurt the smaller bookstores, such as A Different Bookstore, Booktopia, Aeon Books do get affected.)

Ebooks are sometimes too easy a temptation. The illegal ones are free, after all. But in the end, while you're not exactly hurting the bookstore or its employees, you do hurt the author and the publisher (of course out of print books are an exception... no one's serializing them after all, although it would be nice if you could compensate the author in some way). Of course ebooks are still a long way (although it is probably the inevitable destination of literature) from being marketable (because aside from a computer and an Internet connection, you need a credit card, and for someone like me, I don't have that), although the benefits are there (such as purchasing a chapter rather than the whole book for cheaper value). Some people use it for "educational purposes", but to me, it's still probably best if you were able to borrow the book from someone or the library. It's kind of difficult to bring an ebook during exam day.


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