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Books Media The Almighty Buck

Book 'Em, Dano 150

theodp writes "An Oregon library worker was arrested after selling at least $10,000 worth of stolen library books, CDs and videotapes online in the past six months. The thief, who scanned the Net to find items in demand and went to the library to check them out, was busted after an alert college president noticed his copy of the recently-published I am Charlotte Simmons, purchased on Amazon.com, sported a library receipt with a due date of Dec. 26. Earlier this month, it was reported that a VT man was arrested for stealing hundreds of books from college libraries and bookstores and selling them on Amazon, realizing more than $4,000. The library thefts are somewhat ironic, since Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and the NY Times seemed to suggest there might be fewer books in libraries if the Authors Guild, who opposed Amazon's used book sales practices, had their way. Bezos also once told angry booksellers there's no reason why Amazon should have to collect sales taxes, arguing that Amazon gets no police services from other states."
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Book 'Em, Dano

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  • by Eric604 ( 798298 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @10:39AM (#12053932)
    These fines are not there for you to deliberate hold back a book. You should return them. It's a fine, not a price tag, you did't buy them.
  • Re:Sales Tax (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NewStarRising ( 580196 ) <NSRNO@SPAMmaddwarf.co.uk> on Saturday March 26, 2005 @10:42AM (#12053940) Homepage
    Indeed Sir, You are correct.

    No murders have been commited since the first implimentation of the Death Penalty.
  • So what exactly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the_skywise ( 189793 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @10:43AM (#12053943)
    does the theft of books from libraries have to do with:

    a> Amazon's selling of used books depriving the author's of collecting revenue.

    b> Amazon saying that it shouldn't collect state taxes because it gets no police services.

    Other than that we want to make an ad-hominem attack on Amazon and Bezos?

    Would it change what the thief did if the books showed up on EBay?
  • by yar ( 170650 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @10:55AM (#12053980)
    You didn't purchase the books. I'm honestly not sure if it's considered theft. But there are certainly laws that refer to legitimately required copies of materials (some parts of copyright law), and I don't think that this would fit the bill (certainly not if this was done intentionally, and I'm not sure about accidentally). Some of it depends on how your library policy reads- do they drop the situation entirely once the fine is paid?

    The library police won't be coming after you because both libraries and the police have better things to do with their time (unless this becomes a regular occurence because people think that paying the fine means they bought the book). Libraries have scarce enough resources as it is.

    People not returning books sucks for libraries. The reason fines are so high often isn't because they want the fine to act as a detriment- it's to make sure that they can get as close a replacement as possible to the missing item (which is often impossible in out of print books) and to pay for the cost of processing the book. Processing the book is not as easy as slapping on a tag and making the item available for checkout again. There's cataloging and recataloging involved.

    At any rate, libraries are a public service. Taking advantage of their services in the way the article describes, whether or not the person falsely checks in the book, is unethical if nothing else.
  • Re:So what exactly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dun Malg ( 230075 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @10:56AM (#12053991) Homepage
    So what exactly does the theft of books from libraries have to do with: a) Amazon's selling of used books depriving the author's of collecting revenue. b) Amazon saying that it shouldn't collect state taxes because it gets no police services.

    Not a damn thing. Like you say, the dumbass was looking for some way to denounce Amazon and Bezos. Also, he probably thought he'd finally found a good way to use the word "irony".

  • Re:Sales Tax (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @11:03AM (#12054009) Homepage Journal
    That is a separate issue that the story discription didn't need to go into.
  • by cerebis ( 560975 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @12:28PM (#12054379)
    As a digression.

    I appreicate libraries and don't condone the theft of their resources but... Libraries don't always think through their fines and charges. (or for that matter most rental businesses)

    I put it to an elderly University librarian that a $100AU maximum on late fees was stupid when the charge for a lost book was also $100AU. I asked her why she would expect anyone to return a book that hit the maximum fine. Even before the maximum, people might just decide to lump the extra cost and keep the book if the difference between the fine and the replacement charge equals the retail cost.

    I pointed out that higher level texts often retailed in the campus bookshop for over $100AU, so the replacement charge seemed even more short sighted. Why didn't their system pull up the real cost of each book to determine it and cap late fees at half the cost individually?

    She looked at me like I was evil incarnate.

  • by zotz ( 3951 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @12:30PM (#12054387) Homepage Journal
    " "not what people might think of as 'stolen goods' " ..."

    "ok, IANAL, but surely most people realise that taking something that is not yours, selling it and keeping the money is stealing?"

    Perhaps what the poster was referring to was that the person doing the selling did not come into posession of the item in question by a means that would normally be looked at as stealing. Not that selling them doesn't amount to stealing them.

    I go to the library and check out a book and take it home and read it. At this point I am in posession of the book and it is not considered stolen.

    As opposed to I sneak the book out of the library and take it home and read it. At this point, I am in posession of the book and it is (isn't it?) considered stolen.

    Also as opposed to I break into the library at night and take the book home and read it. At this point, I am in posession of the book and it is considered stolen.

    In all three cases, when I sell the book, it is certainly "stolen" although the law can be funny and may have a different term for this type of misappropriation of the property of another. (Anyone know? I do not like to use the wrong terms in matters like this, especially by mistake or out of ignorance.)

    I took it to be that the poster was talking along these lines.

    all the best,


    http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=creator%3A %22drew%20Roberts%22 [archive.org]
  • Re:Bezos or Bozos? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fantastic Lad ( 198284 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @04:37PM (#12055802)
    I'd agree except for the fact that more than half of the politicians are crooks and more than half of the civil servants are lazy, over-paid fools.

    If it were a fair system, I'd have the option of saying, "No thanks. I don't want to buy the services you are selling." Tax is no different than paying protection money. I'll be physically punished if I decide not to.

    The Government is the only body allowed to shoot me 'legally'. And they have nearly all the guns anyway. It's a total racket, and voluntarily paying taxes and pretending that it's the right thing to do is almost entirely an act of denial. The sad truth is that the Government is a sham designed to dull-down, enslave and bleed the populace.

    An interesting note. . . In my country, (Canada), one of the biggest personal tax-dodgers (to the tune of millions), is the current prime minister. Hipocricy? You bet. --And nobody has the balls to do anything about it. At the same time, on parliament hill last year a cadre of the highest ranking ministers granted themselves a pay raise putting their take home pay at over $100,000 each. There was no way to vote against this.

    People who proudly pay tax are self-deluding chumps who don't want to admit they're being raped.


  • by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @08:16PM (#12057072) Homepage Journal
    LAPL does the same thing. I no longer donate books to them. Last time, I donated a few cartons of kids books (my daughters outgrew them) to my local elementary school.

This universe shipped by weight, not by volume. Some expansion of the contents may have occurred during shipment.