Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Book Theft #1

I recently read a book titled The Man who Loved Books too Much, by Allison Hoover Bartlett. It recounts her experience learning about the world of book collecting and one specific book thief. I don't really know much about book collecting in the sense of expensive books. My own collection is ever growing, but with regular everyday books. The books in this story are worth thousands of dollars each. The book thief talks about his desire for a collection, and it seemed to me that the theft was about the value of the books more than anything else. In fact, many book collectors evidently don't even read some of the books they purchase.

This book got me thinking about book theft. To my knowledge, no one has stolen any books from me. I have loaned out books that were never returned but I am assuming that was negligence, not malice. When my husband discovered that our public library had a signed copy of You're Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop: Scalzi on Writing, we had a brief discussion about the ethics of replacing their copy with an unsigned copy we purchased at the bookstore. Of course, we decided that even though the library wouldn't benefit from the pride of having a book signed by Scalzi, it would still be stealing.

Books are important to me. I have had times when I wanted a book that I couldn't afford, but I don't steal them. I have always had access to a local library and utilize interlibrary loan. I can get almost any book in my hands without stealing. I have a hard time understanding why someone would be motivated to steal books. Any thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. I think it is ridiculous that libraries have so many treasures in their book collection, like the Scalzi book, and have no clue what they have. I still wonder if the library would trade.

    This reminds me of another book my wife read that was a sort of autobiography by Louis L'Amour in which he said that one of his greatest regrets in life was not stealing a certain book that he recognized as a treasure. The book was a compilation of ancient maps. Several copies were printed but were later destroyed, never having been distributed.