How does the Austin Public Library come up with its fee schedule?

I spilled some soy sauce on a book, staining the edge of a few pages. Considering the condition I’ve seen some APL books in, I doubt the damage would have been noticed had I not pointed out the damage and volunteered to pay whatever fine they wanted to impose. Today, on attempting to renew a book, I find that my account is blocked because I have a $26.50 fine. That would be a bit surprising for any book, since it’s just a few drops of soy sauce, but it seems especially strange in this case because the book retails for $15 and the exact edition I damaged is available new on amazon for $10 (and used for $.01). Does it really cost them $16.50 to stock a new book?

I’m not complaining: considering how much benefit I get from the library and how much I donate, I’m still getting a great deal; I view this as an additional (well deserved) donation to the library. Just sayin’, this fee structure strikes me as being a bit unusual.

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How does the Austin Public Library come up with its fee schedule?

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