The Thrill of the Hunt & A Rant to Boot

It's always somewhat exciting to visit the used bookstore, since you're never quite sure what you're going to get. 

Today, the store was butt-cheek to butt-cheek PACKED, which, while wonderful to see (Go local economy!), made it spectacularly difficult to peruse the shelves. It was a startling contrast to the Barnes & Noble, which was a ghost town last night.  Still, I got over the discomfort of the confined spaces and managed to do some damage even though they had nothing on my list.

I found 12 books in all - mostly secondary collectibles like Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Angel's Game; Kristin Cashore's Fire; etc. These are more a 'value add' as I collect other titles by those authors. (It's kind of like buying the last Harry Potter book, to complete the set, when it's really the first two books that are the most valuable).  

(Okay, so the rant is in here somewhere) - In a previous visit, I found a first edition of Shadow of the Wind by Zafon for only $3!!! (if you haven't read it, you should). This made it all the more surprising when I stopped by their teeny, tiny "collectibles" shelf, and found a first U.S. edition of Shadow of the Wind, in appalling condition mind you (loose binding, bent/folded pages, bent boards) priced at $40 (unsigned)!  ?? Seriously, guys? I mean, I know this was his first translated novel, and the print run was lower, but come on.

In comparison, you can get a Very Good to Near Fine first edition on for $15 (which is an amazingly great deal, btw). Of course, my fair bookseller was also trying to pass off a couple of Orson Scott Card's later Ender's series books as big ticket collector's items (not even signed). It kind of makes you wonder what their rules are for classifying something as "collectible" vs. regular shelf worthy.

Just FYI, if you're looking for an O.S.Card collectible, you want a first edition/first printing of Ender's Game (TOR: NY, 1985), Speaker for the Dead (Tor: NY, 1986), or Xenocide (TOR: NY, 1991); or anything he wrote prior to 1985, and, of course, anything he signed. He also has a huge omnibus out that is pretty 'spensive, although I don't really know the particulars on that one.


Dave Eggers' What is the What (McSweeney's: San Francisco, 2009) - the second issue (with the orange cover), which some claim is somewhat harder to find. Since I've yet to lay my eyes on the first issue with the brown cover, I don't know how accurate that statement is. I bought it for $6 and it's listing for $50+ (unsigned).

Denis Johnson's Tree of Smoke (Farrar, Straus & Giroux: NY, 2007) - first edition, first printing. There were only 75,000 books in the first run (considered low). Winner of the National Book Award in 2007. I bought it for $8 and it is listing, on average, in the $100 range (unsigned).

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