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Is it fake or true?

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I hope the full-page ad on the back of The New York Times Book Review section on Sunday is creating some buzz.

It certainly caught my attention, as a reader and a librarian.

The ad's main headlines say this: "Who will save our books? Our bookstores? Our libraries?"

A text block ends with this question: "What will happen if there are no more books like these?" Then, there's a list of more than three dozen best-of-all-time English-language books, everything from "The Sun Also Rises" to "The Armies of the Night" to "The Years of Lyndon Johnson."

And the ad winds up with a quote from James Patterson (of all people) that asks whether anyone really cares about the future of libraries, bookstores and books.

Clearly someone cares passionately about the subject. Ads in the Times are not cheap.

But, no one claims ownership of this particular campaign. There is no logo to indicate who paid for the ad.

Maybe it's what's called a "house ad," that is, one that the Times ran on its own without sponsorship.

It doesn't matter. The sentiments are well-stated if over-stated. Quite a number of editorialists and librarians and people in state, local and federal governments care about what happens to books and libraries. And the disappearance of books and libraries doesn't seem imminent.

But, what do I know? I worry more about the future of newspapers, a subject not addressed by the advertiser.

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