“This is the funeral pyre for thought in America today,” Wayne told spectators outside his bookstore as he lit the first batch of books.
The fire blazed for about 50 minutes before the Kansas City Fire Department put it out because Wayne didn't have a permit for burning.
Wayne said next time he will get a permit. He said he envisions monthly bonfires until his supply -- estimated at 20,000 books -- is exhausted.
Does anyone else think this is just twisted? At least a little like a restaurateur protesting slow business by dumping food into the gutter, or a liquor store owner pouring booze down the drain. Can you imagine if Wal-Mart tried this particular tactic? Home Depot? Bloomingdale’s? But they don’t. And why not? Because it’s counterproductive, counterintuitive and -- I’ll just say it -- plain goofy.
Wayne said he has seen fewer customers in recent years as people more often get their information from television or the Internet. He pointed to a 2002 study by the National Endowment for the Arts, that found that less than half of adult respondents reported reading for pleasure, down from almost 57 percent in 1982.
OK, so let's get this straight. Wayne is suggesting business is down? That fewer people are venturing to his store in order to buy books? That fewer people are reading? And his response is to... destroy his stock? Maybe if he read the marketing books in his store instead of burning them, he could buy a clue that burning inventory is not a textbook response to a changing business environment.
Meanwhile, some customers are responding to the blaze with their pocketbooks:
The idea of burning the books horrified Marcia Trayford, who paid $20 Sunday to carry away an armload of tomes on art, education and music.
“I’ve been trying to adopt as many books as I could,” she said.