On dogs and books

On dogs and books

Getting purebred dogs from a breeder is a lot like buying a book in hardcover. You pretty much know what you’re getting, and you are buying it because you love the genre (breed) or the author (lines of the breeding/breeder) and therefore are willing to invest in the money with the hopes that it turns out as awesomely as you hope it to be, and intend to keep it for a long, long time.

People who ascribe to the whole “adopt don’t shop” propaganda are, in my opinion, like people who would demand that you have to take books only from libraries. You don’t know what the book has been through (might be worn or sticky, or have doodles in it, or even missing pages). This is fine, for those who want a library book (or a shelter dog) and are willing to know that they’re taking something that may be a little surprising, a little disappointing, or need some work to pry the sticky pages apart, or, possibly will have an excellent find in perfect condition. But they are choosing to take that route when getting their books.

I’m good with all of these. I buy books in hardcover, take them out from the library, AND buy secondhand.

BUT… what if no one EVER bought a book in hardcover, but were forced to ONLY use the library or secondhand bookshop? Genres would start disappearing, because authors and publishers wouldn’t be paid, and couldn’t afford to continue to write/publish full time. Eventually, most of the writers who continued would have to write books outside their comfort zone/genre, because there wouldn’t be, say, niche genre writers (like historical epic fiction, or quantum astrophysics) to fill that need. The end product would be considerably less satisfying and fulfilling than a book written for that particular genre/purpose *for those who want/require books for that specific purpose*. It would be a loss for lovers of books everywhere.

Now, writers and publishers are not looking to ruin libraries or second hand bookstores, just like breeders aren’t against shelters or breed rescues. But like books, dogs do have to be created from somewhere, especially if they are made for a specific purpose (can you imagine a third rate romance writer also moonlighting as an engineering textbook writer, with no understanding of the subject, but solely doing it for the paycheck?) and I, for one, would like to be able to choose where I get my books from, with no one telling me I’m a bad person for buying the latest Molly Harper novel on the day it comes out, because I want to own the book, and hope that she continues to write more. And because snarky, slightly quirky heroines are my kind of genre. You don’t have to love her like I do, but *I* appreciate being able to have that specific something that makes me giggle at the end of the day (and yes, my giant goofball of a purebred dog is very similar to my taste in books. Go fig.)

In short, I think no one should denigrate either side, because the final outcome is having books in our lives, which isn’t a bad thing at all. The right book for the right person at the right time in their lives is all that matters, not where it comes from. And that there are books available for those who are willing to open the covers. There is nothing wrong with that.

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