Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives
My precious!

Wow. I just did a bad, bad thing. The local comic shop where I spend most of my Wednesday afternoons was having a big inventory blowout sale, and I popped by, fully resigned to spend a little money. Not a lot of money, mind you, but a little bit.

I prowled the aisles. I gathered up an armful of things that were all cool and highly likely purchases, things that I thought were interesting but I wouldn't have bought otherwise. Then I stumbled onto a pile of things that I'd been meaning to buy, and were all half off. So I put the likelies back and replaced them with these new treasures, and I was ecstatic. Nothing warms the heart of a bibliophile faster than finding treasures on the cheap.

And then, the apocalypse.

Ever since I was small, I've been reading Jeff Smith's Bone, an epic series of graphic novels that fall somewhere between Disney and Tolkien. There are 10 books in total, and for a while, I'd been picking them up in hardcover as each one was released. Well, that's not true – I'd been buying the individual issues as they were released, and then picking up the hardcovers when they came out. Only I stopped at around book six. Why? Money, mostly – I've been so busy building up my business that most of my money has been going to Apple, not to the bookstores.

Only... Only this summer the series ended. It was sad to see it end, but it was also that sweet sadness, to see our heroes ride off into the sunset and know that they'd be okay. And I nodded as I closed the last issue, and made a note to myself to pick up the last four books when I had a chance. And, a few weeks ago, I swung by the publisher's site to figure out how much that would set me back.

That was when I found out about the Collector's Edition. One enormous single edition, a massive, War and Peace-sized tome of all 10 books. I was flabbergasted, but the genius of it struck home. It always sort of sucks to have to plow through all 10 books if you want to reread the story, and if you pick up book 5 to enjoy a particular scene again, you almost inevitably wind up digging back through books 1 through 4 to figure out a key element that you'd somehow forgotten. I quickly decided that, instead of buying books 7-10, I'd buy the collected edition and be happy with that.

And then I found out about the limited-edition hardcover collected edition. Only one print run, ever, would be released, and that run would be signed and numbered, and limited to 2000 copies. Further, by the time I found out about it, every single copy had been spoken for. They'd all been preordered, or committed to vendors, and word on the street was that those vendors had radically underestimated the demand for it, and people were wailing and rending their clothes because they couldn't get copies.

The store I go to ordered two copies. They were allocated one. And, of course, it was sitting there behind the register when I went to check out.

I am now significantly poorer than I'd expected to be when I left the house this morning. Luckily I received an unexpected order from a new client this morning for a project that will cover the cost of this little splurge nicely, but still, this was something I couldn't really afford. But it's mine. It's mine, my precious. And I was laughing like a maniac all the way home.

Bibliophilia can be a horrible disease. But, damn, can it also be fun!

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