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Question of the Day:

If people who read books on paper are called bookworms, then are people who
listen to cassette books called tapeworms?


Listen Up!


Audio books are considered to be the fastest-growing segment in the publishing industry, growing 75 percent since 1995 and representing $2 billion in annual sales, according to the Audio Publishers Association (APA).


What the heck does ex-Libris mean?


Ex-Libris, Ex-Library, library discard (I HATE that term), ex-library lease - they all mean the same thing - an item that was once owned by a library system/commercial setting and has been culled from a collection either because of age, damage, duplication or more often than not, simply space concerns. Out with the old, in with the new. Libraries don't operate in a vacuum all of those items which come in brand new eventually go SOMEWHERE.


Once culled they are often gathered up and handed off en masse to a "Friends of the Library" group, the fundraising arm of the library. Through periodic book sales, private sales, or the operation of a retail facility, these items often enter the market at extremely low prices - often less than $5. The FOL's goal is often to raise as much cash as possible in a small amount of time while insuring that nothing is left to pack up at the end of the day. 


Although library editions are made with more rugged packaging the quality is quite a range - everything from items that never were in circulation, to gently worn items to items so damaged you simply wonder if it will play at all. They are often plastered with stickers and are covered with...stuff. I have seen everything from soda covered items to a case that apparently was left next to a cage containing an ornery and teething hamster.


Whether a seller chooses to remove the stickers and other various markings is up to the individual seller. Often times the only physical evidence that an item is truly withdrawn is to see the actual "withdrawn" stamp on the item, usually over the sticker on which due dates were previously stamped. Personally, I remove the stickers whenever possible, at least on the case, as it makes for a better display. It photographs better, gives me a chance to clean it up and test the tapes. I don't sell anything that I wouldn't proudly display on my shelf. If a case is too far gone I simply replace the entire case. Who wants a shelf full of items with different stickers, cases falling apart, etc.


I have cleaned up some things to the point where you couldn't tell it was ex-library unless you looked at the actual cassettes. The vast majority of other sellers don't do this - either out of desire to dump the item quickly or the fact that it can be quite time consuming.  I think it often makes all the difference in the world turning a proverbial ugly duckling into a beautiful swan.

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