Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Extreme Book Reselling

(Mural Outside of David's Books, Ann Arbor, Michigan)

Over the years, I've come to appreciate the pleasures, especially the monetary savings, involved with the purchase of used books. As many books as I go through in a year, if it weren't for sellers of used books, I'd be in debt up to my eyeballs. But one Michigan bookseller came up with a plan to restock his store that could see him spending a little time behind bars. According to the Ann Arbor News, the owner of David's Books thought he had it all figured out:

Edward Stephen Koster, who owns David's Books, was accused of hiring drug addicts to steal textbooks from competitors that he later sold.
Police describe him as the mastermind behind a scheme involving three heroin addicts who stole textbooks from rival stores over several months. Koster bought the books from them and then allegedly sold them over the Internet.

Police began investigating last summer, when a manager from nearby Ulrich's Bookstore discovered during an audit that nearly 300 medical textbooks were missing.

Detectives raided Koster's store at 516 E. William St., in November and seized more than 1,000 books, including 110 that were traced back to Ulrich's, court records show.
I only have one question. How could a rival bookstore not notice that it had lost 300 copies of the same book before performing a formal audit? That lack of control is almost as amazing as the fact that Koster actually believed he could get away with his massive book-stealing scheme, in the first place.


  1. My parents own a arts/crafts store and for more than a year they had a women come in and shoplift items which she used to stock her own store. My parents knew they were missing items (sometimes whole shelves at a time), finally tracked it down to the individual, hired a detective, and once they raided her store they found EVERYTHING was stocked from shoplifted goods from more than a dozen other stores in the area. At least this guy was paying for his stolen goods. The things people do . . .

  2. Natasha, that's an amazing story...looks like there's nothing new under the sun. I can't even imagine how people think they can get away with this kind of thing; it boggles the mind.

  3. That is hilarious...I mean, I'm sure the bookseller missing 300 medical texts didn't think it was funny, but Lord, the things some people will do...

  4. Criminal minds are really inventive minds sometimes, Jen. It's a shame they don't put all that talent to work in some legal way.