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All contents herein (except the illustrations, which are in the public domain) are Copyright © 1995-2011 Evan Morris. Reproduction without written permission is prohibited, with the exception that teachers in public schools may duplicate and distribute the material here for classroom use.

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Confessions of a used-book salesman.

I had no idea this sort of thing was going on, and yeah, I find it very creepy. I used to spend hours in used book shops in NYC, especially the Strand, and I’m amazed that shops allow this. The shops that do may sell more books on a given day, but if the shelves are looted by scanners, why will real book-loving customers keep coming in?

I make a living buying and selling used books. I browse the racks of thrift stores and library book sales using an electronic bar-code scanner. I push the button, a red laser hops about, and an LCD screen lights up with the resale values. It feels like being God in his own tiny recreational casino; my judgments are sure and simple, and I always win because I have foreknowledge of all bad bets. The software I use tells me the going price, on Amazon Marketplace, of the title I just scanned, along with the all-important sales rank, so I know the book’s prospects immediately. I turn a profit every time.

[more] via Confessions of a used-book salesman. – By Michael Savitz – Slate Magazine.

Must have been a really big bottle.

First line of a Guardian review of a new bio of P.G. Wodehouse:

Two or three years ago, during a enjoys a rare insight intopersonal crisis, a friend gave me a bottle of Valium.

via Wodehouse: A Life by Robert McCrum | Book review | Books | The Guardian.

OUPblog » Blog Archive » The Gender-Neutral Pronoun: 150 Years Later, Still an Epic Fail

Dennis Baron traces the odd history of futile attempts to concoct a gender-neutral pronoun:

Every once in a while some concerned citizen decides to do something about the fact that English has no gender-neutral pronoun. They either call for such a pronoun to be invented, or they invent one and champion its adoption. Wordsmiths have been coining gender-neutral pronouns for a century and a half, all to no avail. Coiners of these new words insist that the gender-neutral pronoun is indispensable, but users of English stalwartly reject, ridicule, or just ignore their proposals.

via OUPblog » Blog Archive » The Gender-Neutral Pronoun: 150 Years Later, Still an Epic Fail.