I have a question for these folks: what makes you so special that you can take more and leave others with nothing? I am not talking about myself here. I am selective at what I pick up, and I am happy to pass along my books once I have read them. I did not pick up one book at the exhibit hall. I picked up a few ARCs at meal functions courtesy of the very generous publishers. But as I see adults practically shove someone aside to get more than her or his fair share, I cannot help but think how these same adults would feel if they saw kids or patrons do the same? I suspect they might become more than a bit irritated. And I am just that.
I have had people defend this action citing shrinking budgets and often saying publishers do not care how many they take. But when I see someone leaving an exhibit hall (and I saw this at IRA) with three rolling carts of "stuff," I think that they are not being quite as selective nor as well mannered as they could be. I have seen postings on Facebook with folks proudly displaying their "take" for the day. And I wonder: do they read all of the books? Do they then pass them along to kids and/or other readers?
By all means, take a book if it is one for which you know you will have readers. Take a book if you will blog about it. Take a book if you will post a review. Take a book if you will donate it charity. Take a book if you will pay it forward. And take a book if you will read it and talk about it to others. Think of this as a contract. You agree to pay it forward in exchange for the book(s). Be selective. Share. Leave something behind for the next person.
As I look back at that paragraph, I am struck at how much to sounds to me like Robert Fulghum's book ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN. Maybe some of the folks who are taking more than their fare share should revisit this book and take it to heart?