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Every year 200 000 new titles are published across the globe, of which as many as 2000 may be counted as "good books". Add these to the backlog of existing good books and it should be clear that nobody will ever be able to read all of them. Burning a book is much quicker (and more fun!) and together we should eventually be able to get rid of the lot. Our target is to destroy 43% of all good books by the year 2010.

What you can do

What you should not do

Destroyed books register


What you can do

Choose at least one good book that belongs to you. Destroy it. You do not have to burn it, but could for example rip off the cover and tear out the pages. Now add the book to the destroyed books register by e-mailing the title of the book and an account of what you've done to: [email protected]. You may include details such as your name, where and when you did it, and how it made you feel - but please keep it short. Don't worry - we won't keep a record of your e-mail address or pass it on to anybody else. If you'd like to encourage others to buy more copies of the same book to destroy, feel free to include details on how to order the book.

What not to do

Don't destroy anything that belongs to anybody else. If you're going to use fire, be careful not to set anything else alight. If you're going to use a sharp instrument, be careful not to hurt anybody. Please do not burn any bad books - that's just mindless vandalism. Whatever happens, don't blame us.


Read the Guerilla Publishing Page for an alternate approach to the book problem.

The destroyed books register

August 1, 1999. My name is Thulani K. Today I savagely tore up "Phenomenological Psychology" by Dreyer Kruger and chucked it in the bin. It's not a bad book - in fact I think at one stage it was probably quite revolutionary. It's just that you see so many copies of it in South African psychology students' book shelves and stuff and anyway I happened to have two copies myself. When the cleaning lady that comes in once a week emptied the bin I could see she was quite surprised. I looked the other way and pretended to be working, but I could feel her eyes burning into my back.

August 10, 1999. Threw away Adorno's Minima Moralia. A damn good book if you ask me. At one point I kept it in the toilet - it's got lots of lekker one-page readings - but I got tired of it. What the hell. Yours sincerely, Maryna.

August 13, 1999. Hi, I'm systematically destroying all books by Ian Parker, starting with Discourse Dynamics. The guy's good but he just writes too much and it's too boring. I haven't actually done this yet, but I promise I will and you can add it to the register so long.

August 16, 1999. I must say I find this quite sick. Think of the destruction of the great library at Alexandria! Is that what you want to happen to Western civilization? I NEVER destroy any books - I pass them on to my maid Ethel who takes them to the poor people in Soweto who can't afford to buy their own. Just yesterday I gave her a copy of Country of my skull by Antjie Krog because I've finished with it. Maybe it WILL get burnt for heating or something, but that's none of my business. Stefaans.

August 17, 1999. To burn, to live the (robo)tics of cult-ural exist-stance, to celebrate differance, to make temporary space for a Phoenix, to advertise cremation (and know there is still time), to follow a quest, to follow a star, I burn an old telephone directory. Wendy

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