Chris Erikson from the New York Post just sent me this story about his missing copy of Tales of Times Square:
Someone sent me your post about the CNN mailroom thief, figuring I’d be amused since something similar happened to me recently. It involved a book called “Tales of Times Square,” by Josh Alan Friedman, which was originally published 20 years ago. I’d emailed Josh a year or so ago and told him how much I liked the book, so when it was reissued recently he sent me an inscribed copy — which then was stolen from my desk. A lot of things were getting stolen from desks at the time, and they eventually caught the guy and fired him. Meanwhile, Friedman gets a fan email through his MySpace page from someone who happens to mention that he’d “found” a copy of the book at his old job at the Post. So he called the guy out, fingering him as the thief and telling him to return the book. In his email, the guy had asked about the identity of a real-life model who’s identified by a pseudonym in the book, and Friedman said he’d tell him if he returned it. Sure enough, he sent it back, and it’s sitting on my desk as I write…. so, further evidence that stealing inscribed books brings on bad karma.
And, I just got confirmation on another story I had recalled. Evidently a few years back there was an Avon/Morrow employee who had a deal with The Strand and was using the company messenger service to send over entire cases of books. Talk about ballsy!
However, not everyone is convinced the CNN incident is theft. I just received this anon tip:
Has it occurred to any of you that evan did the selling and was covering his a. with the author? given the inconvenience of a trip downtown for a busy producer, this seems way more likely than a mailroom theft.
UPDATE: It must be that time of year. Sara Kramer just wrote to alert me of her story Harvard Book Store nabs book thief and muses: “a comment on your site made me wonder if blaming the mailroom is the new blaming the cleaning lady.”