Sunday, June 07, 2009

Economy of words

Last week I found a near-pristine copy of a 1974 editon of Words into Type.

I paid $10, at Cheap Thrills.

On December 27, 2004, someone bought this same book, used, at the Barnes & Noble in Burlington, Vermont, for $7 (USD), with a gift card, according to the receipt I found inside.

In 2000 (or was it a year or two earlier?) I saw the book, new, in a bookstore in New York City (or was it Washington, DC?), leading me to believe that in fact it wasn't so hard to find in the United States. I didn't have $48 (USD) to spare that weekend. I left the book on the shelf.

I have been looking for this book since 1996.

A quick search shows me that this book is more widely available (affordably) than once I thought (I swear I looked high and low when I first got Internet access in 1996, but I guess I gave up on that avenue of pursuit too early; I have carried this title over from one list to PDA to another over the years, and pulled the list out for reference in countless used book stores), but this does not lessen the joy I take in my great find.

Lots of grammar! Great indexing! Definitions of useful things like "apposition" and "cognate object"! Twenty-two pages devoted to the comma! What all those copyeditors said was true! This is the greatest reference ever!

How much is this book worth?!


iwonka said...

you sound like an accountant.. well not really like an accountant but the copyediting equivalent of one.

Suzanne said...

I love this book . . . I don't remember how I became its owner.

Suzanne said...

Oh, I got it from my grandmother!

cipriano said...

I love finding stuff in used books!
I recently wrote a poem about the phenomenon! Guy finds a very spookyish role of pics in a used-book he buys!

Melanie said...

Now I want this book, too -- and I want to go to Cheap Thrills, sigh.