Friday, 16 September 2011

Free books and moral dilemmas

Yes, one book in the whole of the UK. And what
a surprise, it's in London.

I was interested to read about the Guardian's attempt to get us all leaving books all over the place for other people to find. Apparently they've conned 15,000 copies out of publishers which they (what, just the Guardian staff?) are going to leave randomly about the place, and they are encouraging the rest of us to do likewise. You can even download a special bookplate to paste into your book for the purposes.

What's more there's a funky map showing where all the books have been left or found, though when I looked it only had one book on it, left by the Guardian's literary editor (Gormenghast, how... literary).

I really can't make up my mind if this is:
  1. A very good idea that will encourage people to read more
  2. Going to result in lots of people (e.g. staff in a cafe where you leave a book/street cleaners) picking up books as rubbish and binning them
  3. A typical wishy-washy Guardian idea that's great fun (isn't it, Jacinda?) and totally pointless
The trouble is, if I took part, and if I could resist giving a book I wrote away, my inclination would be to give a book I really hate. After all, the books I love I want to keep and read again. And then I would have to lie on the bookplate and sing its praises, when really I think it's total rubbish. Do these Guardian people realize the moral dilemmas they are creating?

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