My local library and its branches have small spots where used books are sold as fund raisers and where I frequently find some good conditioned books for little more than fifty cents. For instance the most recent discovery...
While scanning the titles, I saw "Nightseer" by St. Louis's own Laurell K. Hamilton. I haven't read a lot of her books, and I could tell by the back desciption it must have been one of her "pre-Anita Blake" stories, so I thought it might be fun to give it a try.
The cover artwork and overall style gave me the impression that this was published in the late 80s or early 90s. It was in real good condition, so I decided it was more than worth the two quarters.
That night, I settled into my chair with this obscure little gem, fully intending to read through a few dozen pages, but when I opened to the title page, I saw that it was autographed!!
Well... This put a twist on the evening. The copyright and date of the inscription clearly showed that I was correct in my assessment of the age of the book, and while I don't know who Erin is, I can't imagine why she'd want to donate it away. Sure, maybe it's not worth a mint or anything, but all things considered, I can't imagine it'd be totally worthless to some of those die-hard Hamilton fans. And it left me wondering why Erin would go through the effort to have Hamilton sign it, but then (probably*) not read it, and finally, donate it to a general book resale effort later. Did she even bother to post it on Ebay to maybe find out what she could get for it?
So what's my problem? Isn't it obvious? I still want to read it, especially once I learned that this was her debut novel**, but I don't want to damage this copy. It's made it this far, why alter its condition now? Which means, that it'll join that special shelf I have dedicated to autographed books that I have multiple copies of. It'll sit next to an Anne Rice novel ("Servant of the Bones"), a couple of Jim Butcher novels, a John Skipp and Craig Spector zombie collection, a first edition paperback of "Sins of the Flesh" by brothers Don and Jay Davis, and at least the first four Brian Hodge novels. The only difference is that this one will be the only one not inscribed to me. :-)
That leaves me no choice but to head over to the local bookstore (Rose's Bookhouse) to purchase a used, non-autographed copy.
Damn! Don't I just hate it when I have to make a trip to the bookstore.
Until Next Time...
*based on the overall good condition - no creases, barely any visible shelf-wear, and basic color retention.
** this is even a few months prior to the Star Trek novel "Nightshade" she wrote, and the 1995 TSR Ravenloft novel "Death of a Darklord".