Saturday, November 17, 2018

$400 Million Statue Not Needed to Honor Books

India recently unveiled an enormous statue, the tallest one by far in the world.  Its Statue of Unity immortalizes Indian independence leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and scrapes the sky 600 feet above the ground – exceeding the Statue of Liberty by four times!  It also dwarfs the world’s previously tallest statue, a 177-foot one in China.  Meanwhile an even taller one is set to be built by 2021 off the coast of Mumbai. India’s $400 million statue made me think about how books should be honored – but is a statue a good use of resources?

Think of what four hundred million dollars could buy.  How many sick, illiterate, starving, or abused people could have been helped by that amount of money?  Why do we think throwing money at something is a great way to honor an ideal, event, or person?

I prefer living statues, where instead of building a useless hunk of nothing, go and live out the ideals the statue is supposed to embody.  Use that money to help liberate a suppressed nation.  Take that money and use it to provide needed resources to the poor.  Live your values – don’t just look for a statue or a building to pay homage to someone or something.

How many libraries could’ve been built with 400 million bucks?  Or affordable homes to house the homeless?  Or to fund college scholarships?  Or to do something that actually helped people live better lives?

But if you were to commission a statue of something relating to books, writing, or reading, what image would you want to create?  Where should such a statue reside?  Could the money that would be spent on a statue be better used to fund literacy programs, provide free books to the poor, supplement library holdings, and help struggling writers to practice their craft free of financial pressures?

I say we create a logo, not a statue.  We need an image, not a place or a physical thing, to inspire us to promote books, support literacy, spread free speech, and nurture our writers.  So what would be the right image that can be shared and reproduced throughout the nation, something universal, timeless, and reflective of book-centric values, something all of the people could easily support?

Statues may be useful to inspire people when you look at something like the Statue of Liberty.  It reflects a big principle -- freedom -- and doesn’t glorify an individual.  But most statues could become outdated, like the ones of Confederate soldiers, or merely fall into obscurity.  If something is truly worth knowing, remembering or preserving, do we need to rely on a statue?  No, these core values or ideals should be in our hearts and souls.  Do I need a statue to honor love?  I don’t think so.

And I don’t need to see 400 million dollars poured into a statue when that money can be used to save or improve lives.

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America and participated in a PR panel at the Sarah Lawrence College Writers Institute Conference.

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