Read by Eric Luke (check out his new podiobook Interference!)
Originally published in Space and Time.
“Please lend me your second copy of the _Chronicles_, O magnanimous lord of bound volumes,” cried the scholar standing in the street.
Endart Sscowth, the most prosperous bookseller in all Samech Tern, and by that token in the whole of Hyposudia, was startled from his reverie by the reedy voice. His ruminations, as he walked homeward that evening, had been lavish with the parchment scent of antique books, the supple smoothness of age-worn buckram, and the vivid hues of many-lettered spines in piles, stacks, and teetering columns, all atop the bookshelves of Endart Sscowth. Now this scholar had chased that vision from his mind.
“Your pardon, but I ceased lending my treasures long ago, after too many were returned with dents and creases.”
“Then I offer to buy it, O generous one.”