Sad Things (# 6) Library Books

Sad: Buying a book in a library book sale which had been in the stock of the library for several decades but which hasn’t been on loan to a reader even once.

empty library loan cardEven more sad: Not reading this book in subsequent years and finally discarding it when moving house.

About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a journalist, a spy or a hobo.
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2 Responses to Sad Things (# 6) Library Books

  1. radius says:

    I once bought an old book at a garage-sale in a small town in Bavaria. The book was by an rather unknown writer, Edmund Jaroljmek about the time he spent as Trade Attache in Persia. When I tried to open the book I recognised, that its pages were not slit open yet. In the past books were frequently delivered from the publisher to the customer with the 16 pages belonging to a single large print sheet only folded but still not cut separately. The last step of separating each of this pair of pages with a paper-knife was a rather time consuming step to be done by the customer/reader of the book. So sometimes, the reader started to slit the pages open only as far as he progressed reading the book. Sometimes, you find old books with only the first 50 or 100 pages slit open, indicating that the reader went through the first chapters but than got distracted from reading further. The book by Jaroljmek that I purchased on the garage sale, however, was obviously never opened at all since about 70 years. It was, so to say, a complete virgin book. So I don’t know what is a more sad destiny for a book: the one you bought from the library, maybe where readers frequently browsed through the first pages, but never took it home cause they did not found it interesting enough. Or the one that stood for decades in a privat book-shelf or in a box, and nobody ever opened the first pages to read even the introduction ?

    • That is very sad indeed.
      When I purchase second-hand textbooks, I also often notice that the first 15 pages or so are heavily marked and underlined, but then it suddenly stops. That student obviously didn’t get very far.

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