Saturday, November 13, 2010

candy for the bibliophile

I love libraries and I love library book sales. I especially love the special deals that library book sales seem to have on the last day of these sales. One branch tells me that I can fill a conventional plastic grocery bag with as many books as I can and just pay $6 for it. It is probably a sign of the economic times that the price has now become $7. Another branch replaces the plastic bag with a strong paper bag that I buy first and then fill and walk out. These sales are monthly events, so it's easy to get addicted.

Another county library system has two sales in a year. Each sale ends with a Sunday special: a box of hardbacks for $10 and a box of paperbacks for $5. The hardbacks are all sold at one level and the paperbacks, videos, tapes, CDs and miscellaneous material are sold at a lower level. I must confess that I am addicted. It's nice to see the warehouse with long aisles of books and people walking along pulling boxes on carts or pushing them along the floor. I limit myself to a box -- going beyond that is usually impossible, because I have not, so far, found enough to justify a second big box. But there are others who seem to be on a mission.

People buy books for different reasons. There is the obvious reason of adding to one's personal collection. Some buy books to decorate fireplaces and similar spots in public places like restaurants, hotels and coffee shops. Such purchases tend to be dominated by large hardbacks. I have also seen someone use a portable device (a barcode scanner perhaps) to assist a seemingly endless waggle dance about the aisles building small stacks of books. I suspect that this person eventually sold these in retail or in bulk elsewhere. Some libraries have issued bans on such devices simply in response to the clutter caused as a consequence of the uncaring behaviour of such pricemongers. I really don't care about what people do with the books they buy, but I'd probably be upset if I lost a used book I would have cherished to a reseller's cold pile.

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