Australian Indigenous Orchids: Volume 2: The Epiphytes: The tropical terrestrial species by A. W. Dockrill. Hardcover book with pictorial boards (no dust jacket) published by Surrey Beatty & Sons 1992 (completely revised).
A few months ago I was visiting a fellow book dealer in his shop when the inevitable one bookseller to another question of, “how’s business?”, arose. The usual answer revolves around a reply of one of the following:
b/ not so good
e/ what’s the point of continuing when no one buys books anymore.
Very occasionally there is a reply indicating that business is “OK… not great… just OK”. So on this particular day I was privileged to receive a reply of OK. Apparently a customer had decided to part with their cash and purchase a copy of Australian Indigenous Orchids: Volume 2, which is not a cheap book and was the reason why this particular days business had been OK. We booksellers then discussed the whole issue of selling a single volume of a multi volume set (2 or more) particularly the ability to sell the second or third (etc) volume. I think most of us will agree, that it is easier to sell a complete set as apposed to an incomplete set. Some books though will sell as a single volume, as is the case with this bookseller and his copy of Australian Indigenous Orchids: Volume 2.
A few weeks later and I find a copy of… yes, you guessed it… Australian Indigenous Orchids: Volume 2. Volume 1 was no where to be seen. I looked around, but this volume as with my fellow book dealers volume, was all alone. I listed it on ebay, which is what I do with most books that I find and was unable to make a sale. It’s a lovely book on a subject that people are passionate about and I think it will sell at some stage… so much so that I now have the book listed on Books & Collectibles patiently awaiting a buyer.
Now all of what I have just written is not really that remarkable until a few weeks after that I found another copy of volume 2 … and yes, once again, it was all alone. Now I’m worried. There seems to be a glut of this volume and only this volume (a glut meaning 3). What happened to all the volume 1’s? It’s sort of like the single sock phenomenon, except in this case it’s a book about Orchids. I purchased the book regardless of having an unsold copy on my shelf as, as I mentioned before, it’s worth a few $$$ and to be blunt, one of my jobs is to make $$$. So what do I do with the new copy? I of course try selling it on ebay once again… you never know what might happen.
In the meantime I’m looking for a bag of single socks which may have multiple copies of Volume 1 in it as well.