Police confirmed on Monday morning that a long-time gang of book smugglers in the Lexington area has been taken into custody, after a raid on their base a few blocks away from Kennedy’s.
The raid came after months of investigating illegal book vendors near UK’s campus and tracking the disappearing shipments of textbooks intended for the campus bookstore. “We’re extremely proud of our efforts today,” the police chief told reporters. “But we still have a long way to go before we can declare Lexington 100 percent free of smuggled books.”
Book smuggling is a multibillion dollar industry worldwide, behind only drug smuggling and prostitution in profits. Lexington has recently become a hotbed for smuggling operations, being an ideal location for ferrying texts from the South to colleges in the Northeast and Midwest.
To better explain the recent phenomenon of smuggled textbooks, a former smuggler known as Clutch* sat down and explained the business. “It’s real easy to turn a profit. You just need to make sure that you’ve got the best stuff at the best price. Take English books. Everybody wants ‘em, but all our competition’s got ‘em for cheap, like $2 or $3 to the pound. We cut our prices to compete, and there’s hardly any profit there! Now, you get into the chemistry and engineering stuff, and all those pre-med books? Quality product, I tell ya. Sells for $25 or $30 to the pound, and that’s on a bad day.”
Authorities are becoming increasingly fearful of the violence and poverty associated with book smuggling operations, and are urging Kentucky’s legislature to further restrict the sales of textbooks to only licensed vendors, as well as to completely ban minors from the buying and selling of textbooks. Dr. Wesley Bigglesworth, a professor of Bollywood Sciences and part time book vendor, describes the effort as “so stupid only the government could have come up with it.” Expanding on this, he adds, “If kids need their books for cheap, they’ll find those darn books for cheap. That’s just a fact of life, and people need to make peace with it.”
Clutch agreed with this sentiment. “The operation’s not broken; it’s just experiencing something we in the business world like to refer to as a ‘temporary setback’. Trust me on this; cracking down on those guys is only gonna result in a few cracked skulls.”
Students are encouraged to buy their books from legitimate services, or else figure out a sneakier way of acquiring their products than walking up to some shady character in a hoodie laden down with a backpack full of biology books. So watch out for smugglers and trigger-happy smuggler hunters, dear readers, and remember: everything is out to kill you.
*Note: The informant’s name is not, in fact, Clutch, but he threatened to break my knees if I used his real name. Hard hitting journalists tend to have a nasty time trying to pound the pavement with both legs in casts.