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Car Talk

It's not just on NPR.

The Official Guide to Bedlam

The teeming, chaotic, utterly bizarre world of popular music on the Web -- brought to you by MTV and Yahoo!.

Shakespeare's Theatre

A multimedia tribute to the reopening of the Globe.

Classically Inclined

A refreshingly fundamental approach to classical music.

The Museum of Jurassic Technology

"Um, what exactly is this place?"

For more, see the complete Web Citations Index.
August 27, 1997

Bibliocity If, as the maxim goes, human nature is never so weak as in a bookstore, then imagine the prospects of bookstores on the Web, which has proven itself to be a private domain of unfettered indulgence. Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble are aware of the potential; hence their current struggle online for the title of "world's largest bookstore." But no matter how vast these mass-retailing empires become, they will always exist parallel to the curious universe -- quietly teeming with bibliophiles (book lovers), bibliotaphs (book hoarders), bibliopoles (book dealers), and bibliomaniacs (book crazies) -- in which rare and collectible books are bought and sold.

Titillating the inhabitants of this universe is simple. Offer them a first edition of Charles and Francis Darwin's The Power of Movement in Plants (1880), inscribed by Charles to his daughter Elizabeth ($20,000). Wiggle a copy of the first issue of Shakespeare's Second Folio Edition (1632) at them ($75,000). Invite them to consider an exceedingly rare copy of Aurora Australis (1908), the first book ever printed in the Antarctic ($75,000). After that you'll have them hooked: a first edition of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye (1951), with "just a hint of sunning at the spine," will seem like a bargain at $3,500, as will a first edition, with the "original cinnamon cloth tooled in blind on covers and gilt on spine," of George Eliot's Silas Marner (1861) at $3,000.

These books and more can be found at Bibliocity, an elegant and efficient rare-book site that currently offers access to the catalogues, locations, and e-mail addresses -- in this country and abroad -- of almost a hundred rare-book sellers. Searching is easy and fast, and there are no extraneous touches; here the books are the thing. This is a thrilling resource -- for those in a certain universe.

Copyright © 1997 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
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