The seam carving technique is one of the most popular techniques for content-aware image retargeting. There have been many attempts to improve existing methods of seam carving to provide more aesthetic retargeting results. However, most previous methods focus on developing an energy map for preserving important image regions while retargeting. Commonly, the existing seam carving based techniques tends to produce discontinuity artifacts when retargeting straight structures. We observe that it occurs when a bunch of seams are assigned across straight structures (i.e., lines or edges). In this paper, we propose a modified seam carving method not only preserving important parts, but also maintaining the prominent structure of the image. To this end, we put a constraint that seams are sparsely assigned each other. Experimental results show that the proposed sparse seam carving yields more plausible retargeting results than previous retargeting approaches and it is very robust to images containing prominent lines or edges.