This week an item appeared on the neighborhood email list. Someone had stolen a package with Crocs and vitamins from a neighbor's porch, leaving behind a box with a copy of Manhattan Beach. The intended recipient of Manhattan Beach responded, and then collected it. Nobody has so far reported finding a box of Crocs and vitamins on his porch, and a box with electronics missing. I infer that Crocs and vitamins are more easily sold than books.
My wife remarks that the the thief must have known that the first package was a book. I guess so, but I can't think what book would be better to steal for resale than Manhattan Beach. Perhaps if it had been a true crime book, he could have kept it to read for tips. We suppose that he carried it to another porch instead of discarding it because that way he went up the steps with a box and came back with one, making the theft less obvious.
Jennifer Egan is not the only author whose books are not attractive to local thieves. A few years ago we left a car door open, and came out in the morning to find the trunk open. Nothing that we could see had been stolen, and there in the trunk was a collection of essays by Matthew Arnold. A bit after that, a man across the street found resting on his car an old family Bible, and in his garbage can a case looking like a purse, in which the Bible had been when stole. The owner, a woman who lived around the corner, was very grateful to have it back.