Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sudden Short Story 31

"... The thing that seems to stand out the most in your portfolio is the matter of your private library."
"Well, I have a private library, but I have a great many private expenditures for my own benefit that aren't profitable in and of themselves.  I assume that you're referring to my public library."
"What do you mean when you say 'public'?"
"I mean just what it sounds like I mean.  The library is open for anyone and everyone to use at no cost.  Most of the books can be checked out, at no cost, so long as one has a library card, which also has no cost.  It's a public library, and, as I understand it, the last one in existence."
"But... aside from your staff, who are paid to do so, nobody ever enters or leaves the building except for you."
"Well, that's probably why it stands out on my portfolio.  Not only is it the least profitable of my ventures, but it actually loses money.  The staff - librarians, cleaning crew, maintenance - aren't working for free, you know."
"Well, from how you explain it, it wouldn't matter if you had a thousand people checking out a thousand books a day for a thousand years, it would still lose money."
"That's correct."
"But, for all your market genius, for all your ingenuity, why haven't you figured out a way to monetize it?"
"Because... It's a library."
"I'm afraid that I don't understand."
"Nor does anyone else, it seems, and that, I find, is the saddest thing these days."

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