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Libraries on a book-hunt/News from the corporate world

7 April 2003

Two bits of news to lift the gloom, one from the library world and another from the corporate front.

Buckinghamshire County Council has finally had enough of dealing with overdue library books and is setting up a pilot scheme to track them down, using computer chips placed in their spines. The scheme will be tested in Reading, Berkshire and Booker, High Wycombe and will involve 'book hunters' in vans touring the streets and looking for random signals whenever their detectors pick up a signal. They will then call at houses and issue a demand for payment. Hugh Turner-Page, library service spokesman said: 'With the new technology we are going to be able to retain more library books than ever before. In this way we will never lose a Dick Francis or Jilly Cooper novel ever again.'

Meanwhile, in New York, the latest speculation regarding the fate of Time-Warner Books took an interesting turn. At a press conference this morning, Tom Dunne announced that Thomas Dunne Books (an imprint of St Martin's Press) was no longer in the bidding for the Time Warner Books Division. "It was all a misunderstanding," the reclusive billionaire nephew of Warren Buffet claimed, "We thought People Magazine was part of the package." Dunne, who had made an immense fortune selling the market short for the past three years, stunned the press by announcing that Dunne Books had, however, purchased Bertlesmann, "lock, stock and blazing barrels". "The books are all well and good, and we are thrilled to own Random, Transworld, und so weiter." Rumour has it that CEO Peter Olsen was revealed to be "pushing" fifty and, therefore, shot. (All Random executives who are in their fifties have recently been offered early retirement.)

To keep the record straight, we should point out that both these gems were published on Tuesday 1 April.