Book collecting can easily become an obsession. It's the chase, not the conquest, that provides the greatest thrill. Possessing a coveted first edition is almost anticlimatic. It's a game. Your hands tremble as you count out three dollars for a book you know is worth a hundred. You're certain the seller will realize his mistake and pull it back at the last minute. You hold your breath and make small talk. You owe 18 cents sales tax. You pull out another dollar. You don't want any change. You just want to grab your "find" and bolt out the door. But you act nonchalant, instead. You wait for your 82 cents, then walk out the door, clutching the book against your chest.
You get home and wipe the dust off your latest collectible. You open it to the copyright page with shaking hands. You verify the date. You can relax, it's definitely a first edition. But is it a first printing, too? You can't tell. It'll take some research to find out. The jacket is a little frayed along the spine edges, otherwise in good condition. You place it on a bookshelf with your other first editions. It won't be alone. It has lots of company.
You sit at your computer and enter pertinent information about your book into a database--typing in the title, the author, the cost, and a brief description of its condition. You hit the "save" key, shut off your computer, and go to bed. You sigh, turn on your side, and dream of your latest treasure.
Tomorrow you'll go back. You may have missed something. Maybe a signed copy. It's worth a second look. Like mining for gold, it takes patience and perserverance. Who knows what's hidden away in some dusty corner of your favorite bookstore?