Linguist, lexicographer, writer, editor, broadcaster

Book-hunting deprived of a soul

I enjoy browsing book stores and sales in hopes of the random score for something readable—I’m not looking for valuable first editions. I’ve never been one to festishize books for their dollar value, just their informational, emotional, or intellectual value. The most money comes into it is when I calculate cost per idea. Something like the Norton Anthology of American Literature scores very well, especially when I can get it on the dollar shelves at the Strand, where I’ve found both the first and second volumes for exactly that price.

So you can imagine how depressing it is to me to read about people bringing bar code scanners to book sales to buy only those books with a high resale value. Dealers have to make a living, I guess, but they’re not buying books, they’re buying product. Widgets.

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Grant Barrett