Book ‘Em –It’s criminal how much some people love books.

Book ‘Em –It’s criminal how much some people love books.

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Whatever their motivation, however, book collectors help to preserve this physical culture and ensure that our printed matter will still exist in the future. They are the most likely to fight libraries for the preservation of old newspapers or dig around estate sales and attics to find lost manuscripts by writers like Poe or Blake. Book thieves, on the other hand, not only destroy our cultural artifacts, but also hinder an understanding of our history. Most book thieves are misunderstood by the criminal justice system as petty criminals, and they are let go with slaps on the wrist. Gilkey was one such criminal until members of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America banded together under the watch of Ken Sanders and assisted in sting operations and helped document his crimes. The ABAA continues to fight for longer sentences and heftier fines, as many of these book thieves are repeat offenders. Hopefully more judges will follow the lead of the one presiding over the trial of Daniel Spiegelman, subject of Travis McDade’s 2006 The Book Thief, whose bounty totaled $1.8 million in rare books and documents, including a 13th-century Euclidean geometry textbook. In her decision, the judge stated, “This crime was quite different from the theft of cash equal to the appraised value of the materials stolen, because it deprived not only Columbia [University], but the world, of irreplaceable pieces of the past and the benefits of future scholarship.”

Reading Bartlett’s descriptions of book collections and the attachments people have to them was particularly bittersweet

(for @Maikwl =)

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