A used bookstore owner in Kansas City, Missouri, began burning his collection of books yesterday, the Associated Press reported. Tom Wayne, who has run Prospero's Books for the last ten years, lit a match and declared, "This is the funeral pyre for thought in America today," before setting fire to a pile of books outside his warehouse. The fire burned for less than an hour before the Kansas City Fire Department extinguished it.
Wayne had tried to thin out his collection of approximately twenty thousand books by giving some to libraries and other bookstores, all of which were too full to accept them. He started to burn his books in protest of "society's diminishing support for the printed word."
A small crowd gathered in front of the fire; several people managed to salvage some titles, paying between ten and twenty dollars for an armload of books that were to be burned. Wayne says he plans to get a permit and burn books on a monthly basis.