British booksellers estimate they lose about $1.5 billion worth of books to theft every year. A survey of bookshops showed that the most frequently stolen works were immediately useful to the thieves, particularly street map books. “I’ve been in bookselling for 20 years and the London A-Z is the most stolen book in the world,” says Patrick Neale, who used to work at a London bookshop. “A-Zs were like porn—you had keep them under the till.” And one convicted thief, who stole Lonely Planet guides to order, purloined 35,000 of them in one year before being caught.
British booksellers estimate they lose about $1.5 billion worth of books to theft every year