A new (fun) moral duty

Here are some intersting thoughts on the ethics of book-buying from an old friend and colleague of mine. Owing to our own Christy Tennant’s year-end recommendation, I’ve got a copy of The Gift sitting ready on my nightstand—the only thing that stands between me and it are 900 pages of the Spanish edition of Roberto Bolaño’s 2666. Both copies are from the library, which means I am probably a horrible person.

There are ways around this: we can, for example, see it as a moral duty to buy books by authors who are still alive and who deserve money new, rather than used. We could buy books directly from authors whenever possible so that they’re getting a more just cut. We need to re-conceptualize how we think about exchange and consumption. Lewis Hyde’s The Gift presents one such way forward: thinking about artistic creation as something outside the economic. But that requires us to think different both as producers and consumers: maybe that’s what the Internet is trying to tell us.


from “reading vs writing,” by Dan Visel, if:book, 16 January 2009 :: via more than 95 theses

Originally published at culture-making.com.

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