Critical Linking: January 10th, 2013


It is physically impossible to look cool in the coffee line holding a Tablet. You just can’t do it! But if you’ve got a thin volume of Baudelaire poems, say, or a Murakami novel, look out!

This is the fantasy that book nerds believe–that reading a book makes you look cool. It doesn’t. You’re thinking of smoking a cigarette.


You’re absolutely right: it’s that the rent is cheaper. There are a lot of people here, and it’s a very creative environment, and you’re close enough to this publishing hub. There are great bookstores. There are a ton of writers around. But it’s also—it’s kind of okay to be broke in Brooklyn.

This is indeed an underrated piece of whatever “literary Brooklyn” is about–a markedly non-Manhattan tolerance for being pretty damn skint.


The only logical conclusion one can draw from all this, of course, is that if B&N goes down the entire industry is fucked. Booksellers, publishers, authors, agents, librarians, and oh yeah, readers.

Only the first four groups of people are dependent on “the industry” surviving. If the whole publishing industry vanished tomorrow, people who love reading would still read. Individuals would write for nothing, and there is a whole history of books to choose from.


“In essence, then, people bought more books in 2012 than in 2011, but they paid less for them.”

I’m no economist, but isn’t that how pricing works? Lower the price, sell more units. 

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