Where can I find out-of-print books by David Lerner?
December 17, 2003 10:34 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone suggest a good way to find an almost impossibly out-of-print books. I've tried both amazon, bn, abebooks, and xlibris, but none have a copy and so far as I can tell only a thousand were ever made of any of them... In case it helps, it would be any of the poetry by David Lerner.
posted by drezdn to Media & Arts (10 answers total)
i think this was asked a few days ago. scroll down a good chunk. perhaps the answer will be in the thread (i didn't read it but am sure it got responses).
posted by dobbs at 10:45 PM on December 17, 2003

It's always worth it to keep trying the usual sources every once in a while - what's not there today may well be listed tomorrow. There's a copy of Why Rimbaud Went to Africa by David Lerner listed as a used item @ amazon.com, albeit for a rather steep $193.20.
posted by misteraitch at 12:43 AM on December 18, 2003

Alternatively, you could try & track down bluesman Dave at the C-note, wherever that is...
posted by misteraitch at 12:48 AM on December 18, 2003

Drezdn: There's a common misconception that everything's online these days - it isn't. Specially books. Try the specialist firms that advertise in the TLS or any other literary journal. The out-of-print circuit is largely offline and depends on dealer networks, printed catalogues not on the web, auction records, etc. If it were easy, these dedicated firms wouldn't exist. Any reasonably good search firm should be able to rapidly locate any book you're looking for, for a small fee. This one looks OK, though I've never used it.

I found this online guide quite useful. But, as I say, rely on print and experienced searchers if you really want to get your man.

Good luck!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:36 AM on December 18, 2003

I did an @find in #bookz on the off chance. No joy. Sorry.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:49 AM on December 18, 2003

Call your local library. From working there, I know that they have access to databases that search out of print books, and they have ways of tracking down a book that you wouldn't be able to find on your own.
posted by agregoli at 6:57 AM on December 18, 2003

TomFolio is an online syndicate of rare-book vendors. Worth a try.
posted by adamrice at 7:11 AM on December 18, 2003

Alibris: City of God, Melody Marloe. This the guy?
posted by ed at 10:58 AM on December 18, 2003

I assume you're not talking about the David Lerner who has written numerous studies of groundwater contamination in England. Or the David Lerner who wrote the page-turner Molecular Analysis of the Structure and Function of Two Chitin-binding Proteins. Let me know if you are.

More likely, you are looking for the David Lerner whose books include Pray Like the Hunted, I Want a New Gun: Poems, 1987-1988, and (apparently) Why Rimbaud Went to Africa, all of which were published between 1988 and 1992 by Zeitgeist Press in Oakland, CA. I would contact the publisher (address in 2002 Books-in-Print: Zeitgeist Press, 1630 University Ave., No. 34 Berkeley CA USA 94703), though with something with such a short run you may be out of luck. Copies of Pray Like the Hunted and I Want a New Gun can only be found in one library apiece (SUNY-Buffalo and NYU, respectively).

Miguel is right though. Your best bet may be to contact a rare-books dealer that specializes in poetry, preferably in the Bay Area, if possible.

If you need more information about the titles I mentioned, let me know. I used OCLC to find them.

Good luck!
posted by arco at 11:18 AM on December 18, 2003

Thanks arco, I actually knew most of the information, as far as I can tell, Zeitgeist was owned by Bruce Isaacson, who no longer lives in San Francisco (according to my research) and is more likely in Las Vegas. I even managed to find his address once, and was tempted to write him a letter about it, but never went through with it.
posted by drezdn at 12:19 PM on December 18, 2003

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