The supposed gentility of the world of books is oft but a mask for duplicity.

Bookseller Ken Sanders has been a long-time scourge of the biblioklept and bunco steerer, and he will be honored as such at the upcoming Gold Rush Book Fair.

(Note that “Sanders” is the preferred spelling of his surname; the misspelling of Saunders, as in the article linked to here, might put one in the mind of Winnie the Pooh’s domestic arrangements, a moderately incongruous juxtaposition for those with any passing acquaintance with Mr. Sanders.)

Back in my day as a book shop clerk in San Francisco, I was once allowed the pleasure of confronting a dapper book thief who had been illegally peddling our wares around the rare book shops of the city. He had been collared with one of our books in another shop and when I confronted him in the company of a San Francisco police detective — I believe that when faced with the thief I employed a rhetorical flourish along the lines of “So we meet again!” — he produced a Panamanian passport and claimed diplomatic immunity. (This was the merest pretence and subsequently proven to be hogwash.) I mounted his mugshot on my desk the way a big game hunter might hang the taxedermied head of an ibex in his den.

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