Philip K. Dick Books Are Extremely Popular with Bookstore Thieves

Illustration for article titled Philip K. Dick Books Are Extremely Popular with Bookstore Thieves

Apparently science fiction writer Philip K. Dick, who penned wrathful classics like A Scanner Darkly and Man in the High Castle, is very popular with bookstore thieves. His books are number three on the list of top-five most-stolen book authors, at least according to one thief who was interrogated by a writer for a recent issue of Seattle free weekly The Stranger. Not surprisingly, perhaps, William S. Burroughs is also on the list as are "any graphic novels." But what makes Dick in particular so stealable?


According to Stranger writer Paul Constant, who has worked for years in indie bookstores:

I've had hundreds of dollars of graphic novels—Sandman, Preacher, The Dark Knight Returns—lifted from right under my nose all at once. Science fiction and fantasy are high in demand, too: The coin of the realm is now, and has always been, the fiction that young white men read, and self-satisfied young white men, the kind who love to stick it to the man, are the majority of book shoplifters.


So bookstore thieves are geeks who want to stick it to the man by stealing science fiction? I think there might be something else going on here. What do you think?

Flying off the Shelves [Stranger via Schneier on Security]

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I'd agree with your source, figuring it's the same reason video games are so often stolen. Many young males (it's hard to tell ethnicity from chat comments) appear to believe they're "owed" something, or that if it's available they should be allowed to take whatever they can get away with, and at least when justifying their stealing of games (based on Kotaku comments) price appears to also play a large role in their excuses. Assuming these are the same people, the fact that they own computers able to play said games would target them fairly solidly in that middle-class "I feel like I'm fighting the Man without actually risking anything" demographic. Of course, their inability to figure out who they're actually damaging quite nicely slots them into the "young" category.