The sign posted in Posman Books, in New York Cit’s Chelsea Market:
"In response to those recently leaving with books without paying for them, otherwise known as “stealing," please be advised that you are not a 1970s Roberto Bolano, nor are you a charming street urchin of Victorian England, posted with the existential problem of stealing bread in order to prolong your troubled existence.
You are not “sticking it to the man,” or padding your imagined future autobiography, or Behind the Music documentary through your actions (and, in the future, will you have wanted theft from a bookstore in 21st-century Chelsea to be part of your past?).
Remember that we are an independent bookstore and as often as possible, we stock books from independent presses that publish the works of authors who go otherwise unnoticed by larger publishers.
Can you not see that we are your friend?
In all other respects, we are all part of an already faltering industry that will cease to exist unless you vote with your wallets against the alternative (which provides you with no tangible artifact of sentimental value to walk off into the rest of your life with—-whether paying for it or not).
No one in the above described process receives lottery-like bales of monetary compensation for their painstaking efforts to write, make, and distribute works that, were you to have read them clearly enough, should have by now inculcated in you, through a genuine understanding of their ultimate content and the primary urge that drives their creation, a moral education which brings one to a closer understanding of our universal experiences, the binds of our common humanity.
In sum, we are not the 1%. If you are in it for yourself, perhaps you are on the wrong career path or cultivate the wrong entertainments. Books are the conduit of a symbiosis between reader and writer, and publishers and bookstores are the ecosystems that bring them together. If you don’t love an author’s work enough to buy their books, don’t, but please reward your favorite authors by buying their creations.
Support them as much as possible so they can continue making what you love.”