Morning bookies. Why does hot coffee taste so good on a blazing hot day when you’re sitting in the A/C watching the grass turn brown? After all, you’re only a power outage away from shriveling up yourself.

In thinking about my recent screed about the scanner people, it did occur to me just how useful such a tool could be for someone who actually knows their business already. Like me. It could help cut down on all of those tempting books I buy that look so wonderful, but are selling for less than a dollar on the net. You know the ones, where the first 50 entries for sale all say something like, “May or may not have tool marks. May or may not be ex-library. May or may not have food stains. Good condition, mint, acceptable, a great copy, might be falling apart.” These are canned descriptions that scanner people and mega-listers put on every single book in their inventory, because they can’t be bothered to inspect them. The computer prices them, then their software monitors the internet, and if another copy comes available cheaper their machines automatically undercut the new price. But, since the new guy probably has the same software, they respond by cutting their price and so on, until the bottom has been reached and there is a glut of crappy copies all cluttering up the website so that the better copies are all on page 2 of the search results, all sold by a bunch of people who could just as easily be selling tires or Hummel figurines.

Some business, huh?

But with a scanner, maybe I could avoid buying those books in the first place. I could use the scanner to avoid the scanner people. I like that concept, using their own technology against them. So we’ll see, I might think about that one, and if I do get one I’ll let you know. But I recognize that it could also be dangerous, a slippery slope into bookseller hell.