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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Local Library Book Sale -- Beware of Book Dealers Carrying Hi-Tech Equipment

We are proud of our library in this town.  It has been rated the best in the country several times in the last few years.  I support the "Friends of the Library" group and pay my dues religiously.  My experience today, however, left me wondering if my library cares about due paying members of the "Friends of the Library" group. Case in point:  Book dealers who join the "Friends" simply to be able to go in for the preview sale. Some of them come from miles, perhaps even out of state.  I've had this experience several times; one time back in college, I was almost run over by a pair of "book sale pirates," as one of my buddies used to call them.  The incident became the closest to a physical confrontation I've had since leaving the Marine Corps.  At any rate, today's book dealers were curtailed from running, but not of bringing hi-tech equipment.  I saw about a dozen of them carrying hand-held sort of Blackberry thing with a bar code scanner.  When I asked one of them (a lady so as to prevent a physical altercation) what she was doing, she said "I scan them and the computer tells me what I can re-sell it for later."  I believe in free enterprise--hell, I'll even concede some (not many) of the merits of capitalism, but this is quite ridiculous.  Reminded me of those "Speed Traders" on Wall Street with million dollar hi-tech equipment and Ph.D. mathematicians writing algorithms (quite an advantage) and the "mom and pop" financial planner outfit having to compete with that.  So, needless to say--although I suppose I should make the disclaimer--I am not going to re-sell what I bought today.

At any rate, I can't keep complaining.  I "scanned" the shelves and got away with some gems:

1--"Think" by Simon Blackburn (of the series I have "Being Good" and "Truth: A Guide").
2--"Living Fiction" by Annie Dillard.
3--"Answered Prayers" by Truman Capote.
4--"The Dante Club" by Matthew Pearl.
5--"Einstein's Dream" by Alan Lightman (author of "Good Benito," which I found unreadable).
6--"The Wapshot Scandal" by John Cheever (SCORE: First Edition with dust jacket).
7--"Queries and Submissions" by Thomas Clark (Writers book).
8--"The Writer's Guide to Queries, Pitches and Proposals" by Maia Allen (Writers book).
9--"The Hour I First Believe" by Wally Lamb (another First Edition, just not as special).
10--"The Complete Stories" by David Malouf.
11--"Final Exam: A Surgeons Reflection on Mortality" by Pauline Chen.
12--"Damage"  by Josephine Hart.
13--"The Gentle Infantryman" by W.Y. Boyd.
14--"West of Kabul, East of New York" by Tamim Ansary

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