The internet is amazing, truly, but there are also numerous downsides. Sure, we can pretty much find the answer to any question we could possibly ask, but is having all that information at our fingertips a bad thing? Is binge-watching YouTube videos instead of doing something more productive harming our brains?
Yes, says science. A 2011 experiment published in Science Magazine found college students remembered less information when they could easily access it later on a computer. And in his book, “The Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brain,” author Nicholas Carr says, “The Internet is an interruption system. It seizes our attention only to scramble it.” Yikes.
As of a result of this fascination with all things digital, good old fashioned novel reading might not be as exciting as it was pre-Google. Who needs books when you already have your phone in your hand, right?
Booksellers at The Wild Detectives, a bookstore in Dallas, Texas, doesn’t quite agree. While they know that the internet is here to stay, they still want people to take breaks from the web to read the literary classics. But how do you grab people’s attention when your competition is a cat dressed like a shark riding a vacuum cleaner?
If you can’t beat them, join them, right? Which is why the team at Wild Detectives is repackaging book themes as clever, clickbait headlines. Their campaign—called Litbaits—comprises social media posts intended to get people to click on links that take them to copyright-free classic books. That’s right: You don’t have to go to an actual bookstore (though you totally should!).
When you’re reaching out to people used to only reading snippets of information on Twitter, headlines like “When it’s okay to slut shame single mothers” is sure to get a click. (By the way, that click will take you to “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne.)
Here are two more:
If you haven’t figured it out yet, the two above are “Gulliver’s Travels” and “Romeo and Juliet.” “You fell for the bait,” each post says. “Now fall for the book.”
You can find out more about the concept by watching the video below. To see the Wild Detective’s full list of free novels, just click here.