September 13, 2003

The Triumph of the Bill by Al-Curtizini

Posted by Curt at 03:24 AM in Ramblings | TrackBack

As most of us are aware by now, tensions have recently escalated between the entertainment-media conglomerates who wish to make all consumers pay for use and the consumers who nevetheless side-step around this archaic and monopolistic supply-model through a dizzying array of proxy vendors, with no resolution in sight except a long string of lawsuits. I am speaking, of course, about the used-textbook market, and the shell game between textbook manufacturers and students willing to go to great lengths to avoid using their hamsters as collateral in order to come up with $130 for an intro. psych. book. Hence the used-textbook market, which, for those of us sensuously connected to our books, presents rather a dilemma. There is little inherently desirable about a used book. The notes are generally rubbish, good for nothing except practice for future archaelogists. Defaced pages, cracked spines, the absence of any but a soured book-smell--these books seem more like dilapidated, graffitied temples, and I far prefer my rapport with a brand-new book, pristine, which has saved all its special secrets for me alone, or at least me first. I would not call this expereience priceless: it has a very definite price, generally between $30 and $50 over the price of a poor degraded Used, which, when I am not paying for my textbooks, can even in me awaken the bee which but rarely troubles my bonnet, which I sometimes call a conscience. Therefore, I demand an armistace in the textbook war: I demand that textbook publishers stop preparing new editions every single year, resulting in a line of succession longer than the Bourbon dynasty and even more incestuous, so that when reading Hegel's "Philosophy of Right" I am not forced to decipher the dialectic of the finite Will through and around a hand-written scrawl entitled "Fifty variations on the word 'echinacea'"