You can tell a lot about hotel guests by the books they leave behind, so prowling the shelves at the Artisan Hotel is a glimpse at visitors traveling through Las Vegas.

Most hotel guests here are unlikely to see books unless they travel off-Strip.

The Artisan’s private library, behind a locked, wrought-iron door, would be extraordinary for a boutique hotel almost anywhere.

It’s crammed with art (reproductions), deep colors and heavy furniture, and glass-fronted, wooden bookcases.  Many of the cases feature intricately carved wood, so the furniture is as fascinating as the book spines.

This is remarkable for Las Vegas, where the only bookstores are two big chains (Borders and Barnes & Noble), and about a dozen used bookstores.

What’s even more remarkable is that almost every book in the place — free for borrowing — is a hardcover.

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