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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A book by any other name...

There's been some talk on a discussion list for members of the IOBA (Independent Online Booksellers Association) regarding an invitation from a member for fellow booksellers to advertise for free on a bookseller resources directory  called Smelly Books.  Quite a few of the booksellers who replied to this discussion said they didn't want to associate their books with smelliness.  Others said they loved the smell of old books and appreciated the humor of the website name.  Once a customer returned a book to us, saying it had an "acrid mildew smell," although when I received the offensive book, I could detect nary an odor.  Apparently (from my readings of bookseller discussion lists) this discrepancy in interpreting the smell of a book from no smell, to delightful scent, to stinky is a not unusual state of affairs.

Reading Notes
Sean and I have been reading Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart out loud.  The protagonist in this satiric novel, Lenny Abramov, is a reader and has a Wall of Books (which he does spray with pine sol)  in his apartment at a time when everyone has a constant stream of images and data via their äppärät (an object apparently a step above an I-phone) and books are generally regarded as smelly old things most people would be embarrassed to be caught handling, much less reading.   The depiction of a corporate controlled society, consumer culture, social networking, police state, and media limited to Fox Liberty-Prime and Fox Liberty-Ultra is a little too much like reality.

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