Minor Thoughts from me to you

The Blessings of Used Book Sellers

It seems that some people get annoyed when used book sellers visit library book sales.

Book dealers armed with handheld ISBN scanners are threatening to take over the used book sales run by volunteer fundraising groups for the Madison Public Library system, Morris said.

The scanners tell them how many copies of a title are in circulation and what it generally sells for -- powerful information to have if your aim is to find cheaply priced books that can be sold online for much more than you paid.

"You see them just literally hunched over ... shelves of books," Morris said, blocking book lovers like him from perusing the titles and maybe picking up a bargain they actually intend to read.

Thomas Boykoff, president of the board of directors for the Central Library Friends group, and Margaret Rentmeesters, who manages the book store at the library, acknowledge that the book dealers have become more common at book sales over the last two or three years.

But profit sometimes motivates unpleasant behavior.

"They sort of claim an area," Boykoff said, "Some of them just don't give a damn."

How horrible! How, how ... profit-driven! How evil! Or is it?

I love reading, but I just don't have time to get out to library book sales. While I wish I could, the timing just never quite works out.

Thankfully, there are people out there willing to trade their time for my money. They'll pore over the stacks, weeding through the books that no one wants, to find the books that someone wants. Then they'll list these books on Amazon.com, Half.com, Alibris, Deal Oz, AbeBooks, Powell's Books or other similiar sites. I can browse the online sites, find what I want, and have it delivered directly to my door.

These book sellers are no nuisance. They're a blessing and I'm grateful for them.