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I've used only biscuits and glue to build a couple of bookshelves, loaded them up with books and their still going strong (even moving them full of books). Those biscuits are actually pretty strong in shear resistance as well as pull-out resistance. In addition, the biscuits speed up assembly, since you can pull the clamps relatively quickly, and are good for getting the pieces aligned during assembly.

That said, I use the biscuit joiner because I already have it - bought it when they were all the rage. Since then, pocket screw jigs have come along and taken care of a lot of the applications for which I bought the biscuit joiner.

So, I don't think I'd buy the biscuit joiner now. As noted, you can take care of everything that the biscuit joiner would do with dados and pocket screws.
 
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