Cory’s Speech, “How to Destroy the Book”

Cory has been sharing this thought experiment, recently, this notion of how books hold a privileged place and that the publishing industry is in the process of undermining that. He touched on this a little bit on his recent interview on my podcast and has been expanding the idea with each iteration.

He just posted a link to the transcript, made by Jade Colbert, from the speech he gave at the Canadian National Reading Summit which focused exclusively on this idea.

We are the people of the book. We love our books. We fill our houses with books. We treasure books we inherit from our parents, and we cherish the idea of passing those books on to our children. Indeed, how many of us started reading with a beloved book that belonged to one of our parents? We force worthy books on our friends, and we insist that they read them. We even feel a weird kinship for the people we see on buses or airplanes reading our books, the books that we claim. If anyone tries to take away our books—some oppressive government, some censor gone off the rails—we would defend them with everything that we have. We know our tribespeople when we visit their homes because every wall is lined with books. There are teetering piles of books beside the bed and on the floor; there are masses of swollen paperbacks in the bathroom. Our books are us. They are our outboard memory banks and they contain the moral, intellectual, and imaginative influences that make us the people we are today.

This certainly describes me. The rest of the speech raises my hackles for fear of how my admitted bibliophilia may become endangered. This very threat has led Cory to espousing a seemingly odd counter-intuition. Copyright must be protected and preserved, specifically the rights it grants to use as people of the book. I have been following this trend of publishers trodding on these rights, with increasing interest since Cory has put this bug in my brain.

Follow the links and read the full text transcription. See if it doesn’t send a chill down your spine, too.

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