virtue out of necessity

I have been looking for a copy of a children’s book, out of print, hard to find. Usually the copies I find listed on one website or another are ex-library, which means somebody bought a book for fifty cents at a library sale in the hope they could sell it for more to somebody else.

Some people don’t mind ex-library books. I do. I never buy them, because they are almost sure to be a mess. Kids are hard on books, and library books especially. And then you get all the stickers and marks and the rest of the detrius of a book coming through a library system.

Now, kids don’t care about this kind of thing. If you’re just looking for a copy of an out of print book because you think your three year old will like it, well then, an x-library book might be just fine in your case. Sellers know that people who collect books don’t want ex-library books. The honest ones say right up-front if the book is ex-lib. Some hide the information at the very bottom of an otherwise long description. Some neglect to tell you at all. I personally always ask before I commit to buying. Is this an ex-lib book? A remaindered book?

But today I came across this listing, which made me laugh out loud:

ISBN: 1564023443 Description: Good. Hardcover. Candlewick; 1st U.S. edition ISBN 1564023443 PUBLISHED 9, 5, 1994 Might contain wonderful ex-library markings or some nice highlighting.

This is like putting an ad in the paper for a car that reads: This car has interesting dings and colorful scrapes.

Odd, eh?