It’s maddening. I almost never want expensive stuff. Sure I’d like an iPod like most people, but I don’t feel any particular lack from not having one.

This is different…it’s like an itch I can’t scratch. It’s driving me crazy crazy.

The book is The Regency Companion by Sharon H Laudermilk and Teresa Hamlin. To quote the Amazon book review:

The publishing company needs to reprint more copies. This book is EXTREMELY hard to find but an EXCELLENT resource for the Regency period. Laudermilk covers just about every aspect of life of the Regency period, including class, politics, fashion, military, and daily life. Social customs, clothing, travel, and environmental conditions are covered. Its not an extensive book, that covers all the above subjects in-depth, but excellently highlights them for readers of all stages of interest in the Regency period of England. I used it for an undergraduate research paper and have been searching for an affordable copy ever since. Unfortunately, it is out of print and those that purchased the book know they have a gem. The cheapest used price is $300! I wonder if my public library knows how tempting it is just to pay them $50 and never return the book next time I check it out.

Why does this book torment me? Because I’m a big reader of Regency romances (and maybe someday I’ll write one for fun). Because it was in the library that I grew up patronizing and then where I worked for a number of years. Because it’s every big as much a gem as the Amazon reader says. And there is also no way that paying $240 + S&H is in our budget.

I can’t tell you how much this book has tempted me…I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve considered just walking out with it (next time I’m in my hometown) and never bringing it back. I’d certainly be willing to pay a $20 fine if that was all it took.

But it’s not even in my current library system, so I can’t check it out and photocopy important parts or take extensive notes. Nor can they get it on inter-library loan.

The good news is that the Library of Congress has a copy. And I have a reader card. So I’ll be taking my determined little self down there and spending some quality time with it in the next two weeks.

Maybe if I actually write a Regency novel, I can buy my own copy.

Should I contact the seller and say “Look, that’s a fine price but do you think it’ll really sell? Let’s arrange something by PayPal where I pay $40 (or something) and you actually move the inventory.”

And perhaps I’ll let my old library know that if they’re ever getting rid of that book, please please please please please call my parents and they’ll take it off the library’s hands for me.

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Oh Library of Congress, How You Disappointed Me
March 25, 2008 at 4:57 pm

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Marie March 21, 2008 at 8:46 pm

Do you have a university near by? The one I live nearby has a copy and photocopies are usually fairly cheap.

mrsmicah March 21, 2008 at 9:16 pm

Alas, it’s not there either. Nor is it in the DC university library consortium (all the libraries got together to lend each other books). Nor in the local DC or MD county library systems. 🙁

I’ve figured out a time when I can go to the Library of Congress so I’ll probably have to visit a few times and take really good notes.

E.C. March 22, 2008 at 12:23 am

Is this a standard reference that will eventually make its way back into print? I know that some of the technical books my dad bought went through lengthy periods when they were out of print and prices climbed sky high before becoming readily available again. Maybe if you can hold out for a while and make do with notes, it will become more affordable.

Raewyn March 22, 2008 at 12:49 am

Unfortunately for you, the sales ranking on the book is excellent for it’s price. A copy probably sells every month to month and a half. I’m a used book seller and I wouldn’t drop the price on it if someone asked.

ms. m&p March 22, 2008 at 3:45 pm

I heart the Library of Congress. It’s where I get all my library books.

I’ve had this problem before with books that are out of print. It’s extremely frustrating. The LoC has never let me down, but there are times when I’ve had to read the book on the premises because they won’t let you take it home. It’s such a nice place that I don’t mind that much, but it’s no small inconvenience…

WorkingRachel March 23, 2008 at 2:18 pm

Could you save up for it? I’m not all that familiar with your budget, but while you may not be able to justify $250 in one month, maybe you could justify $25 a month for ten months and have it as a “Happy 2009!” reward?

I feel your pain…there are a lot of obscure books I’d like, too, though none of them are *that* expensive!

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