Used Books and Personal Information

Lee Hadden writes: “There is an interesting story in today’s Wall Street Journal about
what can be found inside used books.
“At Used-Book Stores, Unintended
Are Often the Best Sellers Leave Love Letters, Cash Between the Pages; 2
Photos and a Train Ticket.” By BARRY NEWMAN. THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, June
22, 2004; Page A1

A book is a good place to stash personal, valuable,
embarrassing stuff. Unless, forgetting all about the stuff, you sell the
book to a used book store.
“I’d always have a book with me when I got arrested,” said Richard
Ryan on being told that his 1985 rap sheet had fallen out of a book at the
Strand, a store on Broadway in Manhattan where anybody can flip through a
heap of two million volumes. “Books end up as filing cabinets,” Mr. Ryan
says, remembering his days as a student apartheid protester. “I’m sure I got
my arrest ticket and filed it in the book.”
Clearing his shelves years later, he unloaded a few hundred
hardbacks — rap sheet inadvertently included — into one corner of the book
business that has lately been doing well. Americans bought 150 million old
books last year, reports Ipsos BookTrends. Online used-book sales, Forrester
Research predicts, could double and hit $2 billion by 2007. The more books
people dump, the more tittle-tattle they pass on to strangers.

Read more about it at:
(subscription required) or through many library services such as ProQuest.