Stolen from Shelf Awareness which itself stole from yesterday's New York Times Book Review:
The Times polling department does not, alas, compile a 'most stolen books' list. But if it did, anecdotal evidence suggests that many works by the writers talked about in this issue (especially Charles Bukowski) would be on it somewhere, along with the Bible and books about finding jobs. What kinds of things are sticky-fingered readers removing from stores in late 2006? George S. Leibson, an owner of Coliseum Books in Manhattan [which is closing later this year], cites cookbooks and expensive art books, as well as books about sex. ('Some people are just too embarrassed to buy those.') Paul Ingram, the buyer for Prairie Lights Books in Iowa City, observes that while science fiction is often said to vanish ('a lot of people who like it are 13 and have no money'), the sections with the most shrinkage in his store are simply those farthest from the cash register."At a major independent bookstore in Seattle, the senior buyer said graphic novels, as well as books about the Beats and tattoos, disappear pretty often. He added, interestingly, that the enigmatic novels of the Japanese writer Haruki Murakami have begun to disappear at a fast clip. His explanation: 'In his own way, Murakami is a subversive writer with an outlaw sensibility. His characters have this Everyman thing going on, but they are also working against the grain.' "
What amazes me is how many people steal books to scam you, not because they might be looking for spiritual enlightenment (the Bible) or because they can’t afford their reading material of choice (Scifi/Fantasy/Manga usually) due to their age and inability to get a job. “Here you go, Mr. or Ms. Bookseller. Here’s the book that I just stole off your shelf that I will now attempt to return for cash or credit. Pay no attention to my lack of receipt.”
Of course, the people who are just stealing the books for their own edification tend to not really think about it as stealing since bookstores are practically libraries, right? You would not believe the number of people who don’t seem to understand the differences between the two. I’ve had several people this year—not high, and not drunk—ask if they could check a book out from us. “Can’t I just pay a small fee and return the book for my money when I’m done?”
Sure you can pay a fee—the price of the book—but good luck getting that back.
The other day I had ask me, “Can my wife return a book she bought here?”
Wise, after three years, to the ways the human mind can bend straight forward information I asked him why she would want to return it.
“Because she’s read it.”
“As in already read it?”
“No, she’s just finished with the book and she wants to return it for another.”
I referred him to the library.
I’m fine with taking a book back if you get part way in and realize you’ve read it before or that it is just not your cuppa (of course it still has to be in salable condition), but for the love of all that is literature! I am not a library!
And no, you cannot get around that by sitting on floor and attempting to read the entirety of a Harry Potter while on my premises.
People amaze me.