The Burning of the Books
March 9, 2002 4:33 AM   Subscribe

The Burning of the Books Maybe it's only some primitive communications on paper, but still it's a shame.
posted by phartizan (16 comments total)
That's a shame. I've always found early Soviet history fascinating and I'm sure I'd enjoy rumbling through that lot. Unfortunately I speak nyet one of Russian so they'd be picture books to me.
posted by vbfg at 5:18 AM on March 9, 2002

couldn't they at least recycle the paper?
posted by milkman at 6:30 AM on March 9, 2002

hrm. sad.
posted by delmoi at 6:43 AM on March 9, 2002

If eviction proceedings don't start til December, why do they have to burn the books on Monday?
posted by bingo at 7:33 AM on March 9, 2002

vbfg: If you live anywhere near there, go look at the books. Even if you can't read Russian, you'll find the illustrations in Russian books glorious...grab some if you can.

Burn them or pulp them, Kronstadt is *destroying books.* He could have given them away to libraries or, for that matter, to anybody who was willing to come cart them off.

His name will, from Monday on, be used as a curse-word in my household.
posted by realjanetkagan at 7:45 AM on March 9, 2002

I thought of that too, Janet. The guy is going to go bankrupt anyway. Within reasonable limits regarding safety, he should open the doors night and day, and let people take what they want. So it would be in a more ideal world, I guess.
posted by bingo at 8:14 AM on March 9, 2002

Similarly sad story from Glosses.
posted by ceiriog at 9:59 AM on March 9, 2002

Get a grip, people. Libraries and bookstores and publishers around the country destroy books all the time. I used to volunteer at the annual 'friends of the library' booksale. We'd sell what we could -- not just stuff de-accessioned from the library itself, but books other people donated that they didn't want, or more likely couldn't get rid of either -- and at the end, after picking through by the volunteers and people from non-profits like the senior center, what was left, went into a dumpster.

It's a damn shame, but the fact is those books are unwanted because nobody wants them. The article says buyers would only be interested in selections. There's no time left for a charity auction. Whatever may have been needed to save these books needed to happen a long time ago.

(And milkman, if you'd read the article, you'd note that pulping them remains an option, though unlikely.)

It's like publisher overstock. Now, maybe, this article will prompt a university library or someone to step forward and save the most rare volumes. But most of this is probably just unneeded, old editions of books that are now freely available in Russia.
posted by dhartung at 12:42 PM on March 9, 2002

Too much ocean between me and thee.
posted by vbfg at 4:26 PM on March 9, 2002

dhartung, with all due respect, there's no such thing as "publisher's overstock" for a Russian book. Russia suffers a chronic paper shortage. There were never enough copies of *any* book printed there to satisfy the demand for it. Any book this warehouse holds is RARE and WANTED by someone.

Unlike so many other cultures today, Russians genuinely treasure books and libraries and they wish they had more of both.
posted by realjanetkagan at 9:25 PM on March 10, 2002

Cross your fingers, folks. At least *some* of them are being rescued---update here. And there's hope of a reprieve of sorts.
posted by realjanetkagan at 8:13 AM on March 11, 2002

Well, he grossed $14,000 in less than a day, and he owes $200,000. Maybe the landlord will let him stay open another week, and he'll be able to pay.
posted by bingo at 9:12 AM on March 11, 2002

Yay, the librarians!!! No link yet but All Things Considered just reported that the Library of Congress will give many of the books a home---*and* they'll try to find homes for the rest.

Shout out a YES! to jessamyn for knowing the right people to tell.

Let's keep on it, folks. The longer the story stays in the news, the more of these books will be rescued.

(Special blessings on thee, phartizan, for the heads-up FFP!)
posted by realjanetkagan at 2:41 PM on March 11, 2002

It was jessamyn who contacted the library of congress?
posted by bingo at 3:44 PM on March 11, 2002

bingo: I don't know if jessamyn contacted the Library of Congress directly. (Though why shouldn't she? I'm ashamed to admit I didn't once think of e-mailing the Library of Congress to alert them directly!) All I know is that once she posted the book-burning story at the books suddenly got a day's reprieve and now there's a real chance a lot of them will be saved.
Librarians rule, yes they do!
posted by realjanetkagan at 6:28 PM on March 11, 2002

I like to think I had something to do with that, but honestly we're just a rabid bunch of ornery cusses, us librarians. thanks for the shout out, janet.
posted by jessamyn at 8:04 PM on March 17, 2002

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