Monday, November 26, 2007

Library book crisis deepens

The crisis in the American subprime library book lending market has begun to have an impact in Europe. The lending market here has tightened up after falling returns in the US led to global stock shortfalls.

"This is generally high-risk subprime material," said a source in Finglas Library. "These are libraries that are doing high-volume lending of Dan Brown or Jeffrey Archer's back catalogue, that sort of thing. Those people take them and then what brain they had melts and they forget where the library is and just don't ever return the books."

The subprime market in the US tightened considerably recently, with a lot of copies of Angels and Demons being written off by local and state libraries. There were even reports of a shortage of Ken Follett. "We've never been without several Ken Folletts on the shelves," said one librarian from New Jersey.

Blanchardstown Library was reported to have drawn down lending from the European Central Library to allow it to continue trading. It is believed that it has been propped up with a loan of several billion copies of Brown's The Da Vinci Code and Archer's Kane and Abel. It is expected to take a significant delivery of celebrity autobiographies in the next few days.

One analyst said of the Blanchardstown situation, "If they get a working mass of ghostwritten novels by Jordan, some cookery books by that mental one off of the X-Factor, and can achieve liquidity with their put-through of Gordon Ramsay expletives and little-England prejudices from Jeremy Clarkson then they might just see the other side of Christmas. If not, well, the whole market might collapse and then we'll have to take Richard and Judy out and perform a human sacrifice to appease the wordgods."

Alastair Darling said he didn't use libraries himself, but he could sympathize with people because he had ordered a book from Amazon that never arrived: "It must have got lost in the post," said the Chancellor. Bertie Ahern had also ordered a book from Amazon, and it was definitely the .co.uk one and not the .com, although he'd sent Celia to order it for him from a cyber-café on O'Connell Street so he couldn't actually be sure.

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