As Jason and I wandered around the MLA’s book exhibit on Saturday, we not only took in the amazing demonstration of the ChronoZoom beta by Microsoft Research but also shared something like the following conversation. (Names have been altered for anonymity’s sake.)
Brendan: Do you ever buy book at conventions?
Jared: Yeah, sometimes.
Brendan: I’m always torn. There are so many that look interesting. But I can get almost all of them cheaper on Amazon.
Jared: Yeah. But you’re directly supporting the publisher in this way.
Brendan: I know. But I’m poor.
Jared: So are your friends who wrote them. It’s important to support our colleagues, as well as presses who publish interesting academic work.
Brendan: Okay. But, I work in a library, so I can the librarians buy any—or all—of these books. So I can have what I want for free and for as long as I want, most of the time.
Jared: Good point. But you can’t write in them.
Brendan: Sometimes I do anyway.
See my brief reflections on the AHA book exhibit here.