Books Conversation With a Book Thief
posted by March 5 at 15:42 PMon
I got a lot of responses to last week’s books lead, about shoplifters. The most interesting one, though, was from an actual book shoplifter. Here’s the (sic throughout) text:
Paul Constant, In your article “Flying off the Shelves” you demonized book thieves and talked about their “underground economy”. Well, I am a major book thief; only I confine myself to the big guys, Barnes and Noble, Boarders, and occasionally the UW Bookstore. I’ve never lifted anything from an independent shop. Also, I never steal for profit. Instead I am the type who steals books because I am poor and I like to read. Anyway, the point is, you did not give us “to poor to buy book thieves” a fair shake, and there are a significant group of us who simply steal for the pleasure of the read. It’s a hard job to do simply for pleasure and getting harder. Barnes and Noble does not even keep Bukowski on the shelf anymore, you have to ask the clerk to get it from the back before you run out the door with it. And yes, I’m fast, and have quite the collection but I don’t think that my actions are exactly wrong, not super great but certainly far from the Beelzebub’s work. After all, I’m not masturbating in the children’s section. [Name Withheld]
I responded with a question, something I’ve always wondered:
Why don’t you use the library?
The response was:
Good Question. Ever try to find Bukowski at the library? The wait list is not short for the most part. The other thing is I, and I’m assuming others, want to keep the books. I think that often times people steal to complete their personal collection. Lastly, I could not steal from the library; it would be wrong to steal from such a good institution. I look at them like a friend of the community, and you don’t steal from your friends.
It was signed, “Peace.”