This Old Book II | Newberry

This Old Book II

You may think that the Book Fair Receiving Room is a silent book processing factory: a place of intense concentration. Each well-oiled piece of the machinery steps up into position, and works deeply, seriously at the job to be done. Never mind what we’re doing getting oiled that early in the morning. It ain’t that way at all.

We confer, we converse, we point out weird titles, odd books, and autographs to each other. We look over those books that are a little bit difficult to pigeonhole. This one on the use of methamphetamines during the Third Reich, for example, MIGHT have gone to Military History or Health, but wound up in straight History. (See, it’s not just about members of the German military taking methamphetamines, and though it COULD go with the other drug books in Health, still it does deal with a specific…anyway, that’s what we talk about in our spare time.)

It’s still hard work, you understand, but it doesn’t have to be somber. Why, every now and then we break out into an old Book Fair work song, which runs something like this.

This old book, it’s worth one:

Look what someone’s dog has done!

With a hardback, paperback, give that book right back

It’s a book I need to pack.

This old book, it’s worth two:

Good enough for me and you

With a hardback, paperback, give that book right back

It’s a book I need to pack.

This old book, it’s worth three:

It’s still got the jacket, see?

With a hardback, paperback, give that book right back

It’s a book I need to pack.

This old book, it’s worth four

Thick enough to charge them more

With a hardback, paperback, give that book right back

It’s a book I need to pack.

This old book, it’s worth five

Author signed it: man alive!

With a hardback, paperback, give that book right back

It’s a book I need to pack.

This old book, it’s worth six:

That spine won’t be hard to fix.

With a hardback, paperback, give that book right back

It’s a book I need to pack.

This old book, it’s worth twenty:

Find some more, we could sell plenty

With a hardback, paperback, give that book right back

It’s a book we need to pack.

This old book: it’s worthy fifty:

Gosh, these leather tomes are nifty!

With a hardback, paperback, give that book right back

It’s a book we need to pack.

This old book’s worth a mill!

Will they want it back? They will!

With a hardback, paperback, isn’t that the phone?

This old book is rolling home.

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