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The E-Sylum:  Volume 10, Number 23, June 10, 2007, Article 30

PARTING WITH BOOKS DIFFICULT FOR BIBLIOPHILES

Regarding last week's item about the used book dealer who resorted 
to burning unsellable books, Harry Waterson forwarded an Associated 
Press article published June 3rd in the Springfield News-Leader.

"When Sandra Wilde decided it was time to downsize, she had no 
trouble giving away jewelry, linen and clothing. It was parting 
with her books that proved to be painful, if not impossible. 

"'I think for a lot of people, books are just really different 
from anything else,' the Portland, Ore., education professor said. 
'They're really hard to let go of.' 

"Sometimes, though, you just have to let go. 

"The question is whether the books that have sentimental value 
for you, and that you have schlepped around the country for years, 
are worth anything to anyone else. 

"'I say put it in the garbage and people get very offended,' said 
Fred Bass, who, as owner of the Strand bookstore in Manhattan, 
makes house calls to evaluate large collections. 'A lot of people 
want their books recycled. They want other people to read them. 
They want to get them into a good home.'" 

"If you do decide to haul your loot to a library or thrift shop, 
be prepared for the distinct possibility that some of them will 
end up in the trash. 

"'Please don't bring us your mildewed, smelly books,' said Leslie 
Burger, president of the American Library Association and director 
of the Princeton (N.J.) Public Library. 'If it's something you don't 
want to read, chances are no one else wants to read it either. It's 
OK to throw away a book.'"

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

Dan Barry of the New York Times talked to the owners of Prospero 
Books about their book burning.

"A few days ago, over the Memorial Day weekend, Tom Wayne and 
Will Leathem held a barbecue of sorts in front of their used-book 
store. A squirt of lighter fluid, the flick of a Bic and — whoof! 
— flames began to dance from their pyre of books.

"Books, they discovered, do not burn well. Books, it seems, tend 
to smolder.

"Books are just things, paper bricks of commerce taking up room. 
But they are also holy vessels, containing the written articulation 
of our experiences and dreams, allowing us to point to an arrangement 
of words and exclaim: “Yes! That’s it exactly!”

"With a sense of responsibility tinged by guilt, they assumed the 
inventory of other used-book stores giving up the fight, and accepted 
the books trundled in by students looking to trade or homeowners 
looking to tidy with a clean conscience. Soon they had accumulated 
nearly 50,000 books.

"The men say they tried to give away books in bulk that were either 
not selling or in overabundance — to no avail. When a friend was 
sent to state prison, for example, they tried to donate books to 
the correctional system, but were denied. When they donated books 
to a local fund-raising event, some well-meaning person bought up 
most of those books and left them at the Prospero’s doorstep."

To read the complete article (subscription required) see: 
Full Story

BOOK BURNING PROTESTS LACK OF INTEREST IN BOOKS
esylum_v10n22a14.html

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor 
at this address: whomren@coinlibrary.com

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