stealing Bukowski (1 Viewer)

the kalamazoo mi. public library used to have two Bukowski's "run with the hunted" and "bone palace ballet" both were stolen. I bought a library book (from seattle! yikes!!) off e-bay a few months ago. man, I hope that it wasn't stolen... I like to think of the little old lady looking through the poetry section of the library and coming (sic) across the title " Erections, ejaculations & ..... Ha!!.... oh my !!
There's some great comments to the article! Comments about Bukowski and Bukowski fans, and a comment about most people having ripped MP3 music and DVD'd but are outraged when it comes to book thieves...:D
Last edited by a moderator:
I know books are getting more expensive from the big chains (£8 for a bloody paperback) but to advocate stealing is more than a bit dumb in 'Conversation with a Book Thief' article. I don't think that downloading MP3's is the same as taking a book from a bookstore. It's neglible behaviour in most cases as the illegal act falls on the supplier of the MP3 and not the downloader
I remember going into a couple of bookstores in Harvard Square back around the time BSP was about to close up shop, and each of these stores kept their entire Buk stock behind the counter. I didn't learn this until I had scoured both the fiction and poetry sections to no avail. Upon asking, they informed me that Buk was the single most stolen writer they had ever carried.

I wonder if the new ecco editions are just as "popular" in this fashion? Nowadays, I see Buk out in the general stock along with everything else.
There may be another side to the story that the employees do not know about....

Most bookstores have the right to return books that do not sell for a credit. There is often not a time limit. I'm sure that you can imagine that after sitting on a shelf for a year or two and being abused, that the publisher cannot really sell them once they are returned. In fact, when I worked at a bookstore, many of the newer titles were not worth returning, so to prove that we did not sell them, we were to rip the cover off, send that back and toss the book in the garbage. With magazines they only wanted the name cut out from the front cover.

But I's wandering here....

My understanding (I read this somewhere), was that Black Sparrow Press had a special deal with the bookstores (one that no other publisher had). Once the bookstore bought them, they owned them. There were no returns. If this is true, it speaks to the power of Bukowski's appeal, the savyness of John Martin and would explain why the chain bookstores would not want them on the sales floor. They may have wanted to keep them in sellable condition. Now that Harper Collins owns the rights, they can let them get destroyed by browsers and then just return them when they are done with them.

If this is the case, I cannot imagine the chain store management explaining this to the clerks or them explaining it to the customers. It would be easier to say that they were the most stolen books.


p.s. When I worked in a bookstore the most stolen books were porn mags, but that was before the days of free porn on the 'puter.
There may be another side to the story that the employees do not know about....

What you say makes a great deal of sense, Bill. I would say that it was only in Harvard Square where I noticed this phenomenon, however. At all of the other bookstores I went to in Connecticut or elsewhere in the Boston area, Buk was out in the general stock. Methinks it was the college-age element of a large University that was contributing to the theft count.

No offense intended, of course, to those of college age.
I went in to a bookstore today because its near my work and I had some time to kill. I normally have a look at the Bukowski section to see if they have anything I don't already own. When I got there there was a sign that said "For Charles Bukowski and William Burroughs go to the Counter" When i asked why they had moved it they said because someone kept going in and robbing the books of the two. It made my day a little brighter.

Users who are viewing this thread