You know how people are all like OMFG YOU CAN'T JUST SET YOUR AMAZON EBOOK TO DOWNLOAD FOR FREE BC RACE TO THE BOTTOM DEVALUE WRITING OMG and all, right?
The prevailing image from BEA was a dull, often maroon bedspread covered with 40-50 free books and captioned: "OMG YOU GUYS BEA13 BOOK HAUL #4" or some such. Kinda cool and kinda weird and kinda, well, I dunno.
You can google "BEA haul" and variations thereof to find pages and pages of these. People love free books.
But books weren't the only commodity being photographed.
The ME AND AUTHOR was also a hot commodity. At one point, they all began to look like people standing near the Washington Monument or the Luray Caverns.
Hey, that's Joanie Author. Take my picture next to her. Then take my picture next to the BEA sign out front. Then take my picture next to the Statue of Liberty.
Seems a little odd, this cult of book.
It's great, of course. It's great that people line up to get free books. People seem excited as hell to come home with stacks and stacks of free books. It's like having a Chattanooga Lookouts Promo Cup shot to you in the stands of the ball game. FREE STUFF!!
And many of the books aren't even "out" yet. Of course, if people are walking around with them, then they're kinda out and kinda not out, I guess. #tomcruise
So free books are great when you're handing out print copies to people in Manhattan, but they're devaluing art when they're downloaded for free to a Kindle in Omaha? Weird.
And it's great that people are excited again, at least for the weekend, for print books and free books and meeting authors and having their pictures taken.
Would be even nicer to see this kind of enthusiasm from readers when new $25 hardbacks are released.
I wonder what the difference is.