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A treasure trove for keen-eyed collectors and bargain-hunting bibliophiles, the public library book sale has long been a reader's mecca. Sure, shoppers usually have to sift through some scraps: the 1960s-era encylopedia set, old college textbooks, and inspirational self-help tracts. But often a bonanza awaits. While public libraries are not putting away the card tables and the milk carton tills, they are increasingly eyeing the e-commerce used-book market to help nourish lean budgets.
I totally disagree with the practice of public libraries selling donated books on the internet rather than using the time honored book sales. As an avid reader I often donate my used books to my local library with the knowledge that they will be sold for $1.00 to someone who can not afford to pay full price. Libraries exist to serve the needs of all the public regardless of income. If the donated books are now sold on the internet all over the world to the highest bidder I think this practice absolutely undermines the whole purpose of a public library. I also have to admit that I see an opportunity for a less than honest individual to profit from a system like this. Who is to say that the $500 rare book will not be sold on an individual internet site operated by an employee of a library that seeks out the rare books for himself and then sells the rest for a few bucks. This whole thing just does not set well with me at all.