Tuesday, August 23, 2005


The Guardian's Hester Lacey defends people who don't care to read, while Ed Gorman sees them as the saddest aspect of the current state of our industry.

I could write a long essay about my own opinion, which tends to be way out in left field on this issue, but I decided instead to go downstairs and box up books to send to people.

I am a tyrant about getting books into people's hands. On average, I give away between 50-100 books a month. About half go to my readers, friends, and family members, but the rest I send to libraries, schools, reading groups and charities. Only 20% are books I've written; the rest are books I've bought, read, and pass along, new books by authors I want to promote, or new books I buy to help out a school or library. Books are also my favorite birthday and holiday gifts, followed by bookstore gift cards. No matter who's on the list, I always find what I want for someone in a book store.

600 to 1200 books a year is a tiny raindrop in the big pail of publishing, but if one person begins reading more books as a result, that's one person we didn't have.

When was the last time you gave someone a book? Look around the house, are there books gathering dust and silverfish somewhere you could donate to a school or library? Are your author copies turning musty and yellow sitting in a box in the closet? If you love books, be a tyrant about it.