Those of you who know me, as well as those of you who have bothered to read the About Me page will notice that I like books. Indeed, my post entitled Groundhog Day mentions my ordering a book about Cambridge University Library. Anyway, with that thought in mind, and by looking through my travel bucket list, I realised that although the country of Bhutan fascinates me, and in spite of my trawling wikipedia relentlessly for Bhutanese topics, I still know very little about this most enigmatic and isolated of countries.
You can imagine my delight when I came across a book (published 2008) that reviews said was very comprehensive, and full of information about this country. Not only that, but it was written by a former Bhutanese diplomat, and so ought to be pretty accurate (and is endorsed by the Queen Mother of Bhutan). Should be a decent read then, but where to buy it?
It was at this point that it got a bit tricky, because it seems like you can’t buy it. “I shall find it in the UL!”, I thought. They don’t have it either. The same story applies to the British Library (which boasts 150,000,000 items in its collection). I even bit the bullet and checked the Bodleian Library (but luckily it’s not there either).
After an exhaustive search (Blackwells, Waterstones, various Hay-on-Wye establishments, etc.), I elected to hunt down the publisher. However, they don’t have a website.
My next desperate attempt was to have a look on WorldCat, which is a catalogue of the collections of libraries from all over the world. The three nearest (and only) public libraries that have a copy of this book are in New York, Washington D.C., and Singapore. However, they all have it down as reference only.
After a lot of digging around, (and I mean a LOT), finally I tracked down one new copy for sale. There is only one on the whole internet it seems. A shop in the US is selling it. So, there are two options. Either, pay lots more money than I’d normally be willing to for a book, or write to the publisher in Thimphu by post (as there’s no website/email address, or even a fax) to see if they’d sell me one? Hmmm, I’ll need to have a think about it.