Saturday, January 19, 2008

Rituals of Resale

I liked this story in today's New York Times about the "book-scavenging semipros who help the city's best-known used-book store keep its shelves stocked." The description of the bookselling line ("NYU students, genteel booklovers moving to smaller apartments, frugal cleaners-outers and a fair number of down-and-out book scavengers") is pretty accurate. Personally,  every time I go to the Strand with a ripping paper bag of books to sell back, I feel a little like Chip in The Corrections:

He ran out of money on a Friday in July. Facing a weekend with Julia, who could cost him fifteen dollars at a cinema refreshments counter, he purged the Marxists from his bookshelves and took them to the Strand in two extremely heavy bags.  The books were in their original jackets and had an aggregate list price of $3,900.  A buyer at the Strand appraised them casually and delivered his verdict: "Sixty-five." 

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