The place: work. The time: last Friday, about twenty minutes before I was done for the day.
A patron came up to me as I was pulling books from the New Shelf, right as you come in the front door of the library. He caught my eye, and held out a book of mine. He’d bought it on Amazon, and wanted me to sign it for him.
Now that, to me, would have been a good story right there. But wait–it gets better.
It turns out that that very book–an older version of a collection of short stories (Voices in an Empty Room, as opposed to The Dark at the Heart of the Diamond, which came out a few years later and had twice as many stories in it), had actually come off of the library’s shelves. OUR library’s shelves.
The patron sheepishly pointed out our barcode in the front cover of the book. “I don’t want you to think I stole it off the shelf!” he said. I could clearly see the red Discard stamp on top of the book, so I wasn’t worried. But I thought it was funny that the book made its way from our shelf, to the book sale when it was discarded, to someone snapping it up, to someone ELSE buying that copy on Amazon.
I always threaten to sign my books “To the lucky eBay winner…” I guess this time it really would have been prescient of me to do just that! No, for reals, I signed it to the patron, and thanked him for sharing the story.