“Book theft is not going to go away," says Margaret Ford of Christie’s. "It would be nice to think that if all parties in the chain shoulder their responsibilities fully we can ensure they are returned to their rightful home.”

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1. Mark books. “It is the library’s role to safeguard its volumes and assert their ownership through marking.”

2. Report the theft. “Stolen books must be reported to the authorities and throughout the book community. Books must be listed and described with copy-specific information.”

3. Pursue and prosecute the thief. “There has been progress made in this area and prison sentences are being handed down in book theft cases.”

4. The creation of a single, comprehensive publicly accessible database of missing or stolen books. “There are individual databases, but there is no central international source. Ideally it would receive government funding.”

5. Due diligence in the trade. “Be vigilant, ask questions, share information and record even problematic provenances in catalogue descriptions.”

Be vigilant, ask questions and share information