Ever since I read one of the volumes of the U.S. Army Air Force's official history of their operations in the Second World War, I've toyed around with the idea of buying and reading the remaining volumes. Having encountered the volumes here and there over the years, it appealed to me as a sort of long-term project that I could shop around for with no real need to buy them right away.
Then while browsing eBay, I came across a seller advertising these:
It's the complete set of the series, all first editions with their dust jackets. Intrigued, I decided to watch-list it for the time being, then largely forgot about it until I received a notice saying that the seller was offering a limited-time discount on the books. I counter-offered, he countered back, and we began exchanging emails.
It was clear from the emails that the seller was loath to give it up for the price I wanted to pay, which was a little over $40 per volume. He had originally asked for $50 a volume, which wasn't an unnecessarily reasonable price considering that used sets of the first editions go for closer to twice that. But as I noted, these weren't necessarily a priority, so I was on the fence about spending so much right now to buy them.
Two factors decided it. The first was shipping; he had advertised expedited shipping, which was a ridiculous extravagance as I was happy to have them sent to me at a slower and cheaper rate (safe packaging is always my priority in these matters). The other was a more intangible factor, namely my "gut check." This was one of those situations where I was indifferent to buying them until I thought about not getting them, and then I started feeling regretful. So he worked out the lower shipping rate (which was less than a quarter of the original amount) and I agreed to pay about $45 a volume.
So now I'm the owner of another set of official histories. I doubt I'll get to them anytime soon, but one of the things I like the most about book series in general is that after I've gotten a sense of them I can anticipate what sort of reading experience I can expect whenever I pick up a volume. Though the one I read proved wearying, it was also in its way an engrossing book. Unless it was the exception this should prove a series that be a valuable addition to my library.