There is something distinct about a labor of love. Something to be revered in the written word or a piece of art that is pure because it was not intended solely (or at all) for profit. It's like the difference between a handmade piece of furnature and something out of the factory but it is even more distinct. When I see such obvious craftsmanship I am always complelled to touch it, to lightly brush my hand over the smooth glossy surface because someone labored over this, they sanded and stained. We leave a distinct Locke-ian trace of ourselves in the work we do that we love. In the same way I am always compelled to touch books and paintings. I am compelled to run my fingers over raised letters on book covers and I must exert effort at art museums to stand behind the foot line because I want to touch the bumpy canvases.
I reserve my highest levels of respect for such creators of art. Party because I am jealous of what they can do and party because of their willingness to share. Writers are the epitome of these artists personified. I believe this is because the writer, above all, leaves very distinct traces of himself upon the page. When viewing a painting it is easy to come to many different interpretations regarding its meaning. If I did not know the story of Van Gogh I doubt if I would see anything sinister in the swirls of Starry Night at all. The written word, however, is so much more transparent and, in my mind, requires much greater effort.
Due to the nature of the art of writing, authors lend their most treasured posessions for our use. In this way, even the blaphemous Barnes and Noble that will stack Shakespeare a couple feet away from the latest "Survivor's Guide" coffee table book is one of the last places around to find something truly original. Words are the one thing that never lose thier value no matter how many times they are reproduced.