Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to a divine purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: That we are here for the sake of others…for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day, I realize how much my outer and inner life is built upon the labors of people, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received and am still receiving.
You had better live your best and act your best and think your best today; for today is the sure preparation for tomorrow and all the other tomorrows that follow.
—Harriet Martineau (via theimpossiblecool)
The French have all kinds of worthwhile ideas on larger matters. This occurred to me recently when I was strolling through my museum-like neighborhood in central Paris, and realized there were — I kid you not — seven bookstores within a 10-minute walk of my apartment. Granted, I live in a bookish area. But still: Do the French know something about the book business that we Americans don’t?
France … has just unanimously passed a so-called anti-Amazon law, which says online sellers can’t offer free shipping on discounted books. (“It will be either cheese or dessert, not both at once,” a French commentator explained.) The new measure is part of France’s effort to promote “biblio-diversity” and help independent bookstores compete.
The French secret is deeply un-American: fixed book prices. Its 1981 “Lang law,” named after former Culture Minister Jack Lang, says that no seller can offer more than 5 percent off the cover price of new books. That means a book costs more or less the same wherever you buy it in France, even online. The Lang law was designed to make sure France continues to have lots of different books, publishers and booksellers.
What underlies France’s book laws isn’t just an economic position — it’s also a worldview. Quite simply, the French treat books as special. Some 70 percent of French people said they read at least one book last year; the average among French readers was 15 books. Readers say they trust books far more than any other medium, including newspapers and TV. The French government classifies books as an “essential good,” along with electricity, bread and water.
Amidst America’s Amazon-drama, NYT’s Pamela Druckerman reflects on what the book world can learn from the French.
Still, one has to wonder whether the solution to one monopoly (the commercial) can ever be another (the governmental), and whether that’s truly in the public interest – the “public,” of course, being first and foremost readers themselves. There’s something hypocritical about the proposition that the books are an “essential good” on par with electricity – what government would ever price-fix electricity and deny its citizen the most affordable electricity possible?(via explore-blog)
This is interesting
Do you love me, babe? What can I say?
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As a professional internet, it’s my job to search the web for quality, intellectually stimulating content. Like this.
The heavens parted, and delivered unto us a scion of hope, a glimmer of immortality. This song.
Its been a few hours since I posted this and I’m pretty sure I’ve gone back to listen to it about twelve times now and each time it still makes me almost develop a hernia from laughing so much.
This made me laugh on public transportation.
The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance. The wise grows it beneath his feet…