Would you cut up a book?

(I promise to get around to that question in this post, albeit in a somewhat roundabout manner.)

Since Kieran has already reserved the right to ask for $50 bills here, I thought I’d ask for something else. Forget bills, they all look the same anyway. I am looking for something more random. I am still in the midst of unpacking some of my things since my move earlier this year and I recently came across my Absolut vodka ad collection. I haven’t looked at it since college when I began (and ended) gathering all the Absolut ads I could find. I have about seventy. By now there are some helpful Web sites for those of us interested in seeing the types of ads the company has featured. I found a few I had not seen before and would really like to have so I thought I’d see if anyone here can help me out.:) These mostly have to do with ads for places where I have lived (e.g. Budapest, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Illinois, Texas, Geneva, Switzerland) or visited (Paris, Brussels, Jerusalem, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, St.Louis), but also include some others just because I like them aesthetically speaking or because they are funny. I thought I would find listings on eBay, but I’ve only come across a few there and none of them of interest.

But so what’s this about cutting up a book?

There are books out there that feature Absolut ads. So if I was really desperate (which I am not, to be sure) to find some of the above ads then I could simply buy a copy of the book and then cut it up (assuming I wanted to have the pieces individually, which I do, because I want to put some of them up on my walls). But that just does not appeal to me. I cannot imagine cutting up a book. I have absolut(e)ly no problem cutting up newspapers and magazines. It is not as though some books don’t exist in numerous copies. In fact, publishers sometimes find themselves destroying books to save on storage costs, a sad reality when I am sure many schools, libraries and individuals could use additions to their collections. Many books are not a scarce resource and can actually be obtained for less than certain magazines. Thus it is not a question of scarcity. So why the aversion to cutting up books? In this particular example it may be partly that there is something about collecting ads that have appeared as ads and not simply collecting the images. But that is not fully convincing given that I am interested in some of these images purely for decorative purposes and I am not a fanatic collector. Clearly I have been socialized to consider books as something quite sacred if I am not willing to go at them with scissors. (I also won’t use pen to mark books although I will mark them using pencils.)

By the way, as a thank you to those who can contribute to my Absolut ad collection, I will be happy to send the contributor a copy of this neat book filled with great images, for free. (Just don’t tell me whether you decide to cut it up in the end.;) Send me a note for more info.

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