Inspiration From The Distant Past

Inspiration From The Distant Past
Found note in an old book... warms the cockles of my bookish heart...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Biblio-Liberation Army Unite! A Report From The Front Line!

If you missed my post about Restoration Hardware mutilating books and reselling them as objets d'art, catch up here: Artful Biblioclasm?!

Saturday, my family spent the day in Tulsa with the main event being my fabulous birthday lunch at PF Chang's. Chang's is always one of my favorite restaurants but I had an ulterior motive in choosing it over any other. The restaurant is located in the ritzy Utica Square shopping center which just happens to house a Restoration Hardware store. No way could I pass up a chance for a little reconnaissance.

Just inside the door, this sight welcomes shoppers:

The store is very spartan; mainly furniture vignettes, a few shoppers and too many bored salespeople lurking about. Definitely a situation requiring stealth. I sat on the itchy Belgian linen sofa behind the basket and said to my five year old: You look so cute. Stand right there and let me take your picture.

Since my main quest was to scope out which books were being abused, I glanced though a few of the bundles in the basket. The twine isn't tight so the books can be pulled apart slightly to see titles/authors. Then, while hubby and son exclaimed over other objets d'art and engaged the salespeople, I glanced though bundles all over the store, jotting down titles and taking more photos-- some with no flash. Sneaky, huh... I knew reading thrillers would come in handy someday. ;o)

I was expecting to see very old hardbacks since the photos on the RH website showed discolored vintage looking books.

But you can see that the ones in the store are newish and most used to be paperbacks.

A few of the titles: Spartacus, Pilot's Wife, Fright Night, Night Star, Les Miserables. Also some non-fiction, self-help and spiritual.

A few of the authors: V.C. Andrews, Jackie Merritt, Robert James Waller, Rosamunde Pilcher.

That one with the large title is a Reader's Digest book.

Obviously no book is safe.

As unpleasant as it was to see these poor naked books, it could have been worse. I most dreaded seeing my beloved books or lots of classics. They are probably in bundles in other RH stores but at least I didn't see them... I didn't cause a scene or start a riot... and I didn't get thrown in the pokey.


  1. Ouch ouch ouch! When do you need your army, Lesa?? ;)

  2. +JMJ+

    LOL! I like your style, sister!

    And I, too, volunteer for your crack SWAT team!

    Those poor books. =( Can the books still be liberated from the twine and read? If so, then people can buy them, free them, and if necessary, have them rebound. Then they can be happy books again. =)

    I think I've said before that I don't really decorate my room with anything but my books. They provide both the colour and the character. I can see why the more snootily stylish interior decorators among us might prefer the "neutral earth tones" of these stripped volumes, but I know I prefer the random riot of colour that comes from a packed bookcase.

  3. I feel like a heretic, but I would love shelves of them. They're like little orphans with dirty faces and runny noses. I also suspect they were bound for a shredder until someone saw beauty in them. Like I said, heretic, but I'll make cookies for the army...

  4. +JMJ+

    Well, Tracy, when you put it that way . . . =P

  5. Yikes! Who shreds books??!!! And Why??!! But that scenario does put a different spin on things, maybe RH's intentions are good...

    But I'm still suspicious of RH-- too bad my army isn't in one city for a protest march! How many cookies does it take to feed an army of three anyway? ;o)

    E, the books are in perfect condition and are definitely readable. A biblio-adoption program is certainly a must-- Tracy can foster the poor orphaned books until good homes can be found.

  6. books past their prime, mostly current books or books that have been roughed up, have their covers torn off at best and burned at worst and are then reported to the publisher as having been unsold and destroyed. Returning them to the publisher is cost prohibitive so they just make them unmarketable and toss them. as for the cookies.. it takes as many as it takes. Just let me know,and I'll start having the butter delivered!

  7. Shocking! I've never considered a book past its prime even water damaged books so never imagined such a thing-- and the books are shredded? How awful-- To me that is the equivalent of poor old horses being sent to a glue factory!

    Wait-- did you say booksellers deliberately make them unmarketable? Oh, the horror!!!

  8. +JMJ+

    On books that are reported as destroyed . . .

    A Romance author whose name escapes me at the moment once wrote about her first job in a bookstore. The manager told her she could have any book she wanted from the store for free, as long as she first ripped the cover off so that he could present it to the publisher as proof that the book had been "damaged."

    This author said that she had no strong qualms about doing that when she was a mere reader; but now that she depends on royalties from real sales, she is mortified at what she used to do.

    So it's also possible that some of these books--especially those which used to be paperbacks--were deliberately stripped so that store owners could report them as having been damaged.


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