So it's another installment of YA Rants, where I talk about things that drive me nutso in the book community.
Today, I want to talk about consuming without contributing. Now, I know you might be thinking that I'm going to go into a lecture about giving back and not just taking information in but also expelling some type of creative force. But actually, I want to know the reverse. How do you read something without giving money/popularity to it? Or I guess, how far do you go in boycotting something?
So let me get down to the nitty gritty of this post. There's this company called Full Fathom Five. It's run by James Frey (Yes that James Frey. The one behind A Million Little Pieces.) Basically it's a Young Adult packaging company. There's a great article by NY Mag explaining the situation here. And there's a great blogpost by Debby about why she's boycotting Full Fathom Five books here. I suggest you read those really quick before you continue. It'll help make the rest of this make more sense. Seriously. I'll just wait here.
Okay. So some of the titles being released by the company actually look really good ( I think No One Else Can Have You looks amazing and Dorothy Must Die looks pretty decent for instance.) But I in no way want to contribute to this company. So how do you get around this problem?
I can't buy the books. That gives money to the company. I can't rent them from the library because then it gives the library the idea that they should have it in stock because it's popular (which means the library has to buy copies of the book which means the company gets money.). I can't illegally download it (first because it's probably not available. Secondly because if I do and they see the statistics for that it'll make the book seem more popular, making them think that they're doing a swell job with their company.) So how do I consume the content without supporting the company?
And then on a second level, Harper is the company publishing these books. Should I stop supporting Harper as well? And if I stop supporting Harper should I also stop supporting Harper Collins, their parent company? How far should I go in making my displeasure known?
Here's a list of Harper titles I have on my shelves to read right now:
Asylum by Madeleine Roux
How to Read Literature Like a Professor For Kids by Thomas C. Foster
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Here's a list of Harper Collins titles I have on my shelves to read right now (Just the one! I was surprised):
The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon
Here's a list of other Harper Collins books I have on my shelves through their other imprints:
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (HarperSanFrancisco)
How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True by Sarah Strohmeyer (Balzer+Bray)
The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett (HarperTorch)
Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani (HarperTeen)
Gone by Michael Grant (HarperTeen)
Conrad's Fate by Diana Wynne Jones (Greenwillow Book)
Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson (HarperTeen)
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund (Balzer+Bray)
Nothing to Lose by Alex Flinn (HarperTempest)
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (HarperVoyager)
I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb (ReganBooks)
Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu (Walden Pond Press)
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson (HarperTrophy)
Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie (HarperPaperbacks)
The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver (HarperTorch)
Losing It by Cora Carmack (William Morrow)
Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick (Balzer+Bray)
I think I'll probably read all these because these are books I have already physically purchased (or in a couple cases borrowed), so there isn't really anything I can do about it now. And I'm really really excited to read some of these books! So what do I do in the future? Do I boycott just Full Fathom Five titles? Do I boycott Harper books as well because they're publishing Full Fathom Five titles? Do I boycott all HarperCollins imprints because they're all part of the same major company? I've been thinking about this a lot lately and I haven't come up with an answer. So let me know what you think in comments!