“Steal this book,” wrote Abbie Hoffman in 1970. So, today, why should we pay for our books – especially in a digital age where intellectual theft is both ubiquitous and pretty much risk free?
According to Gary Shteyngart, the best-selling author of novels like “Super Sad True Love Story” and “Absurdistan,” paying for his books means that he doesn’t have to work at a gas station or a car dealership. When we pay for one of his books, Shteyngart explained when we spoke earlier this week, it “allows me to produce more work.” Buying a book, he insists, represents an investment in creativity.
And creativity – real creativity – may be at a premium today – at least according to Shteyngart. As he argues, the Internet may be killing our eccentricity and transforming all of us into 140-character conformists. Thus, in today’s networked age, he says, there is an acute need for writers who can grab our attention and drag us away from broadcasting our boring selves on Facebook and Twitter.