Monday, August 08, 2011

A Most Elusive Search

ENTRY 0003

Last time, I said that I wouldn't be mentioning the specifics of any current auctions, for what I think are fairly obvious reasons.  This time, though, I will be talking about an item I have been trying to find for more than a few years.  The problem for me is that it is proving to be a most elusive search, and there is a part of me that thinks that this may be the most difficult item that I will ever acquire -- if I do indeed acquire it.

The item in question is an issue of The DRINK.  This was a promotional newsletter that Del Rey Books produced for a few years in the mid-1990s.  The newsletter's title stood for "Del Rey INK."  It came out three times a year -- the issues were January-April, May-August, and September-December.  Each issue gave a brief rundown of what new releases would be forthcoming from Del Rey during the next four months, and featured a brief interview or two.

I once asked someone who worked for Del Rey why they only published every four months, instead of a more logical (at least to me) quarterly schedule.  From what I was told, the publishing industry had three major release cycles during the year, and The DRINK's publishing schedule reflected that.  Okay, I suppose that made some sense out of the rather unusual schedule.

As I recall, I picked up a copy of the second issue of The DRINK in 1995, at Dragon*Con/NASFIC in Atlanta.  Del Rey had a booth at the convention, and they were passing out copies of The DRINK, as well as free books.  Obviously, I picked up a copy of The DRINK #2, and I decided that I wanted to get issue #1 as well.

When I returned home from the convention, I filled out a survey form that was in the issue.  (Now that I think about it, that survey form was in every issue.)  Filling out the survey would put you on the mailing list for The DRINK.  I photocopied the form, filled it out, and mailed it.  Along with the form, I also sent a letter, asking if they still had any copies of issue #1, and requesting one if they did.  Luck was with me that time -- a couple of weeks later, I received a copy of The DRINK #1.

[EDIT:  I've been looking through my copies of The DRINK, and I was slightly mistaken.  As it turns out, the first two issues did not have the survey form.  They still had the address for Del Rey Books, so that had to be where I mailed my inquiry.]

Fast forward several months, to LACon III, the 1996  Worldcon.  Once again, Del Rey had a booth at the convention, and once again, they had copies of a new issue of The DRINK.  The problem (from my perspective, anyway) was that this was issue #4 -- and for some reason, I had never received a copy of issue #3.  When I returned to Louisville following the convention, I wrote Del Rey, requesting a copy of The DRINK #3.  This time, however, I was not so fortunate, as they did not have any more copies.

So that is the object of this particular Elusive Search.  I'm looking for a copy of The DRINK #3.  Based on the cover dates of issues #2 and #4, the cover date for The DRINK #3 would be January-April 1996.

Yes, I know that the information in that particular issue is long out of date.  I'm interesting in acquiring a copy because I am a completist, not to mention more than a little OCD.  The DRINK ran for a total of 13 issues, and I did get the other 12, whether at a convention or in the mail.  I would love to find that missing issue, just so I can have a complete set.

I would say that this particular search is bordering on the impossible.  But there have been other times that I found something when I thought the chances of doing so were almost impossible.  I have had unusual luck before; I'm hoping for a repeat.

Of course, if there is actually anyone reading this, and by some strange chance has a copy of The DRINK #3, leave me a comment.  Maybe we can do business.


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