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April 4, 1966


JAMA. 1966;196(1):95. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100140149045

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Why buy books? One obvious answer immediately comes to mind—to read them. "Books are to read" expresses this viewpoint reasonably well, but some other functions should receive at least brief notice.

Books can help the interior decorator. Multivolumed sets, tastefully bound, provide massed color in the living room or den, while modern dust jackets furnish those vivid flashes and bold designs which prevent monotony. Some books are luxury items which, if well publicized, can serve as status symbols. Then, too, books can satisfy the collector's instinct, that impulse directed toward specific accumulation. Many of us collect one thing or another— perhaps books or stamps or Chinese pottery or glass owls, or what not—with varying degrees of passion, and can sympathize with those who have the disease in a form more malignant than our own. In book collecting perhaps the extreme case is the man who specializes in mint copies, the

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