This is normally the kind of story I would save for my “this week on the bookish internet” posts, but when I read this piece by Brady Dale for The Observer, my blood pressure spiked and I started to sputter eight sentences at the same time in an effort to say all the things that were wrong with this idea at once. Dale reports:
“Globo Books is asking readers to pre-order the next two Nouvella titles (Ciao, Suerte by Annie McGreevy and One Day Soon Time Will Have No Place Left to Hide by Christian Kiefer) and then ‘destroy’ them once they arrive,” Deena Drewis, Nouvella’s editor, wrote the Observer in an email. The funds will be used to pay for the print run of the next two volumes, their ninth and tenth titles respectively. Volumes purchased through this campaign will arrive with instructions for destroying them.
Backers who pledge $50 will get both books and handwritten apologies from the authors for writing them.
This is the most asinine idea I’ve ever heard—worse than the “girl with the dragon tattoo” scheme earlier this year. Thankfully, the tattooing was called off.
A more generous person might describe this kickstarter as performance art, but the quote from Deena Drewis and the language from the kickstarter page seem gleefully spiteful more than artistic to me. While I am willing to send books to the recyclers at the end of the useful life, the idea of burning perfectly good books bothers out of me. It bothers the hell out of me to learn that someone is raising the specter of book-burning to get attention for their new imprint—which I suspect is the whole point of this scheme.
I have a hard time believing that someone who truly loved literature could think up something like this.