Books: The Beat Booksellers

Selling books has always been considered a quiet, genteel and vaguely intellectual profession. In recent years, though bookstore sales are up, all but the larger shops (which carry everything from phonograph records to cute paper napkins along with reading matter) have been harassed by competition from book clubs, high prices and complaints about inefficiency. Last week brought new evidence on the situation. To promote a forthcoming book—a second-rate soulsearcher on The Way We Live Now—Little, Brown sent out about 3,000 cards inviting opinions from booksellers, reviewers, radio-and newsmen on present-day living conditions....

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