Reading, Wanting, and Broken Economics (Kobo eBook)
Combining historical study, theorization, and experimental fiction, this book takes commodity culture and book retail around 1900 as the prime example of a market of symbolic goods. With the port of Southampton, England, as his case study, Simon R. Frost reveals how the city's bookshops, with their combinations of libraries, haberdashery, stationery, and books, sustained and were sustained by the dreams of ordinary readers, and how together they created the values powering this market. The goods in this market were symbolic and were not "consumed" but read. Their readings were created between other readers and texts, in happy disobedience to the neoliberal laws of the free market. Today such reader-created social markets comprise much of the world's branded economies, which is why Frost calls for a new understanding of both literary and market values.