Terra Sigillata


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Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum have released a new book entitled, Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future. Mr Mooney and Ms Kirshenbaum also co-author the blog, The Intersection, a Discover Magazine online.

I was fortunate to receive a review copy from the publisher but must admit, sheepishly, that the book has sat unread beside my home office desk because of other responsibilities. The advance paperwork says it is to be released officially on 20 July. So, my plan is to get to it this weekend and get some magnitude of a review written.

During my relative absence from the blogosphere, a few tweets I’ve seen have led me to believe that there has been some manner of rigorous debate and rancor regarding the content of this book. This makes me even more excited to get to reading.

Given the level of controversy, there may be some wishing to purchase the book in order to contribute to this lively discourse in a well-informed manner. Particularly as the weekend approaches, I wish to make an appeal to those of who will purchase this work:

Please buy it at your local independent bookstore.

As my local bookstore notes on their blog: you contribute to the local economy, you contribute to local culture, and you reduce your impact on the environment.

My local folks make a pretty compelling series of arguments.

Why Shop at The Regulator?
When you shop at The Regulator:

You Contribute to our Local Economy
*For every $10.00 you spend at The Regulator, $4.50 stays in the Durham area.
-Spend that $10.00 at a big chain bookstore, and only $1.30 stays here.
-Spend $10.00 on amazon, and all of your money disappears from Durham, the Triangle, the whole state of North Carolina, for that matter.

Why? Because all of our employees live here. Our “back office” is in the back of the store, not in New York or New Delhi. We buy most of our supplies locally. We pay taxes to both Durham (city and county) and to North Carolina. We bank locally. We don’t send dividend checks or inflated CEO salaries off to another state. So more of our money stays (and re-circulates) in our local area.

*Because of this local advantage, if everyone in Durham were to shift just 10% of their spending from chain and on-line stores to locally owned, independent businesses, we would add 800 new jobs to our local economy and $60 million a year to local economic activity.

You Contribute to our Local Culture
The Regulator is a place where you can relax, let your mind expand a bit, and enjoy the many pleasures of the written word. And, like Durham, we are unique–we’re certainly not just another pre-packaged chain store. We give our honest opinions about books. Our shelf space is not for sale to the highest bidder.

We bring authors from around the state, around the country, and sometimes from around the world, providing stimulating readings, discussions, and book signings.

We support local non-profits, schools, teachers, and students with our expertise, discounts, and often with direct contributions.

You Help Protect the Environment
When you order a book from the big on-line guys, you use SIX TIMES MORE PACKAGING and, because all that packaging takes up more space, you put THREE TIMES AS MANY TRUCKS ON THE ROAD compared to buying the book from us and picking it up at the store.

So while the blogosphere argues about the content of Unscientific America, there is no argument about where you should purchase your copy of the book.

Addendum: Shortly after I posted this, I received a Tweet that The Regulator Book Seller had produced this 1940s-style video trailer and posted to YouTube on 9 July. Scenes are from inside and outside of the store for those who know the place.

Comments

  1. #1 Roadtripper
    July 17, 2009

    I appreciate the sentiments regarding local bookstores, and I support mine whenever possible. As for Unscientific America, I think I’m more likely to buy a copy that’s used or remaindered, if I buy it at all.

    Rt

  2. #2 hiphop
    July 17, 2009

    I appreciate the sentiments regarding local bookstores, and I support mine,

  3. #3 foolfodder
    July 17, 2009

    I’m somewhat sceptical about the environmental claims here.

    The volume of the book plus packaging that I’ve received from Amazon can’t be three times the volume of the book itself, more like one and a half times, I’d say. But then I’m in the UK, so maybe it’s different in the US.

    Parts of the distribution chain will be using existing capacity that otherwise would have gone unused, I expect.

    A local store will be less efficient in terms of running (energy) costs, I would have thought, because it doesn’t exploit economies of scale.

    For those that have them, wouldn’t using a book reader be the best in terms of environmental impact?

    I’m not disagreeing that local bookstores should be supported, BTW, I’m just not sure about that claim.

  4. #4 Surgnurse
    July 18, 2009

    What if I just check it out of my local library? It doesn’t sound like something I really want to own.

  5. #5 Abel Pharmboy
    July 18, 2009

    @foolfodder: Yes, I’d like to see references on the energy and packaging data as represented. I neglected to consider your point about economies of scale. But as you note, I’m happy to support my local bookstore for the simple reasons of their contributions to local economy and culture.

  6. #6 Catharine
    July 18, 2009

    And if you happen to be in Raleigh, you can’t beat Quail Ridge Books. Sheril will be reading from her new book at QRB at 7:30 Thursday, July 24th. See you there!

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