Friday, 6 February 2009

Is there a thief about?

There's a piece in the Times about stealing books ~ check here
As an ex-library manager I'm not surprised that books are stolen from bookshops - they are stolen from libraries too. But what does amaze me is the cost to the bookselling world, and therefore to us. Think of the knock on effect that a £750 million loss creates. And that's what it costs per year for the 100 million titles that are stolen.

It isn't the hot, sexy reads that are going, or the Da Vinci-type best sellers. Thief selection is more mundane than that. The London A-Z. Yes, that's what tops the list. Dare we target the tourist trade as the culprit? Or Londoners fed up of getting lost? Perhaps taxi-drivers trying to learn their routes? Surely not. Second on the list is an OS map of Exmoor, which makes me wonder what is so appealing about Exmoor that people steal maps before they go there. Perhaps it is country lovers who walk into a bookshop and walk out with a little something tucked under the jacket. Perhaps in a single theft we can grin and think someone was doing it for a dare, but collectively it is a body blow to the book world. The fiction author who has the dubious honour of being "Most Stolen" is Terry Pratchett.

There's also a list of the most borrowed library books, and it is a very much different list except for one title. Harry Potter's last exploits feature on both lists.

You can bet I'll be looking around my local bookshops in a new way next time I visit.

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