Missourian steals library books to sell on eBay

misseli writes "From The Iowa Channel:A Gladstone, MO, man is accused of stealing dozens of books from the library and selling them on eBay, KMBC 9 News in Kansas City reported.A total of 156 library books are missing from the Mid-Continent Library branch. A search of 72-year-old Ronald Pashen's home turned up 28 books. Another 29 were identified by eBay customers, and 99 other books are still missing, KMBC reported.Workers at the library said the alleged thief was a regular visitor.

"He didn't check out that many books at once, so this is really a surprise to us all," assistant librarian Vicki Madick said.

Authorities said they haven't been able to find Pashen to make an arrest."


I dabble in buying and selling some used and rare books. I am often see ex-library books listed on eBay and on other used book selling sites. Often this is 100% legitimate if the book was truly a library discard. The problem is that with the purchase of a rubber stamp that says "discard" a buyer of these books has no way to know whether the book is truly a discard or the thief made an investment in a rubber stamp. Take a first edition first printing book by a famous 1920's author. Book may sell for $400 on eBay if it is a non-library book in good condition. An ex-library book might sell for $75 because of the markings on the book. This puts enough value in the book to make it worth stealing.

Libraries that discard books should have a website that lists the books that have been discarded. That way as a buyer of used books that is concerned about library thefts I can more easily verify if a book is a true discard or merely rubber stamped.

I purchased a copy of Isaac Asimov's book, "In Memory Yet Green" from a marketplace seller at Amazon.com. The book was a library book with no discard stamp. The book could be legit, not every library stamps discard on their books. But now I have to wonder if my copy is a stolen library book or merely a library discard.

With the Internet and the ability to move books to a national market I expect book thefts to continue to rise. The Asimov book for example is somewhat hard to find becuase it is out of print. With the price of a non-library hardback copy at $75 someone that makes steals the book from a library can move the stolen ex-library book at Amazon.com or eBay for $30.

Also abe.com (Advanced Book Exchange) allows you to access a subset of WorldCat if you don't find a book listed in their catalog. Problem with this is that if a book does not come up in their database it is usually a very rare book that only libraries hold. Then abe.com gives you a list of libraries that own the book. Now the thief knows where to go to steal a copy.

If you don't find yourlibrary books, you end up buying them. Some libraries are nice, and want them back whenever you can locate them, and will reimburse you (some) of the money. But in those cases I do own the book, and it does *not* say discard.Libraries do not up the price on some of these books, and it is often the 'cheapest' way for some people (not I) to get ahold of some out of print materials. :\ Stupid publishers.-- Ender, Duke_of_URL

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