Hello everyone! Today, I wanted to share a bit of a story with you, on how I found my “unicorn” book, the Barnes and Noble exclusive edition of The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. Yes, I am talking about the rare, black cover edition with the bonus chapter in purple ink. I got the book last Friday and I’m still so pumped about having it that I figured I’d share my story on here with a bunch of other book nerds!
So, I was very late in joining the Cruel Prince fandom. The book came out in January 2018, and I didn’t get to reading it until November 2018. By then, both the Owlcrate and B&N editions were out of stock everywhere and were selling for extreme amounts online. In some ways, I resolved myself to not owning a copy of it, or at least not unless some sort of miracle happened.
In my attempt to have something fairly exclusive relating to TCP, I got the Faecrate Wicked King box, which came with exclusive dust jackets for the first two books. (Fingers crossed that they do another book and jacket for the 3rd book, maybe with a Jude plushie!) Also, once The Wicked King was out, I picked up the black B&N exclusive copy. I figured that it would be good to have, just in case I somehow found the first book, or in case the value went up and I could trade it for something. (I think that they printed more of this edition, so I don’t think it’s as rare.)
Even after I came to terms with the fact that I probably wouldn’t have the book unless they did a reprint or I got incredibly lucky, I kept searching for it. At Half Price Books or basically any bookstore, my eyes would search for that black spine and gold letters. I’d search for Holly Black’s name. Time and time again, I came up with nothing.
A few weeks ago, while browsing the internet one night, I randomly decided to find the ISBN number for that edition of the book and search for it. Somehow, I came across an 3rd party Amazon listing for the book. I couldn’t believe it, and I figured that it was a scam. After all, the same seller had two copies of it, and they were both listed for under $20. $20, for a book that most people sell for $100+? I debated about it for a while, but ultimately decided to give it a go. I could just get my money back if it didn’t pan out or was the wrong edition, right? Even with all of the uncertainty, I was pretty excited about the prospect of finally getting something I had wanted for so long.
Okay, this is the part of the story where things get a bit sketchy. For context, I’m in a fair amount of book-related groups on Facebook. One day, I saw a post in which a girl was asking if anyone else bought the same book from the same seller. She mentioned that the seller had blocked her and canceled her order for asking about tracking info. That was a big red flag, and as I read the rest of the thread, my heart sank. No one’s tracking had updated (They all said “Label Created, Not yet in System.” I waited a few days and after no update, I contacted the seller.
I got the same response that a lot of the others from that post got, stating that it was lost and that he had sold out of the title, but would be getting more in next week. He asked if I wanted a refund for to wait for a reshipment.
Now obviously, that was very sketchy. It was baffling to think that he could get more copies of the same book. I (and many others) figured it was a scam and I was going to request my money back, but that curious part of my brain told me to wait it out and see what happened. Again, I could still get a refund later if things didn’t work out, so I told him that I wanted the reshipment. From there, I sat back and waited.
On Wednesday, May 26th, I checked the tracking, and was quite pleasantly surprised to see that it had finally updated! Of course, I had no way of knowing if it was the B&N edition or just a normal edition. I had asked and he had confirmed, but considering how shady everything was feeling, I kept my guard up. It was supposed to arrive by Monday, which actually was the end of the original shipping window.
On Friday, I checked again, and was surprised to see that it had arrived at my local post office and would be delivered that day. For once, I was actually excited for my internship to end so that I could get home and open the package!
When I got home, my heart was pounding. I got the package and carefully ripped it open and… there it was. I checked to make sure it was legit and had the proper casing color and purple text at the end, and it did. My unicorn book was finally in my hands. Obviously, I went ahead and took a ton of pictures of it for my Bookstagram, like this one! I simply had to share my excitement with others who would get it.
That’s about it for the story of how I finally obtained this beloved copy of The Cruel Prince. It’s now living on my shelf, beside the B&N copy of The Wicked King and my two normal copies, which are covered by the Faecrate dust jackets. As soon as The Queen of Nothing comes out, I’ll get the B&N copy of that and I’ll finally have the complete set of B&N Exclusives, which is so exciting. I’ll definitely post about that on my Bookstagram when it happens, and maybe on here too.
If you’ve been searching for a rare unicorn of a book, don’t give up! I’ve seen people online find the original hardcover of Throne of Glass at Half Price Books, the UK Hardcover of Nevernight at a book sale, and a ton of other unlikely places. If you’re looking for something, keep checking, and never give up. Sometimes you might miss out on what seems like the best deal (There were a few times that I saw this copy of TCP sell for less than $20 on Facebook or Instagram) but don’t get discouraged! You’ll find it someday.
Thanks for reading! In the comments, tell me about the rare books you hope to find!
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