Used Saves

In university bookstores run by Follett, used books get slapped with stickers that look like this:

USED SAVES / Textbooks from YOUR BOOKSTORE

This has to be a masterpiece of advertising copy. Sure, the typography is not great, but there’s something in the text – beyond the obvious use of ‘your’ to imply familiarity and the probably unintentional Jesus reference – that has a distinct effect, at least on me. The difficulty I’ve had trying to characterize this effect is what convinces me that whoever made this thing was really on to something. Something about the way ‘used’ is separated from the noun it modifies, and the sentence fragment ‘textbooks from your bookstore’ – not one textbook, not any specific collection of textbooks, just textbooks in general – brings on a storm of associations ranging from a bounty of wholesome oats to the inscrutable expression on the face of Ostade’s Fishmonger. Perhaps PR people have commandeered Agatha Christie’s secret to popularity [cached], and found themselves a phrase that, through some accident of neurology, causes a release of serotonin regardless of context. I don’t know, but there is something about this sentence-and-a-half.

Used saves. Textbooks from your bookstore.
                                                Shantih     shantih     shantih

~therighthandofnixon

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