He wrote his first published novel when he was 17. When he got more popular, he re-wrote and re-released it in his 40s. This revised version is very easy to get a copy of for very cheap.
For years, I've really wanted to have a full rough draft of one of my favorite author's published works, just to see the differences between that initial inspiration and what finally stayed on the page, and how they differ, what was dropped, added, etc. I'm very interested in examples of the revision process - while there's tons of examples of "finished" writing, there's not a lot of examples of "in-progress" writing.
So basically, having a copy of the original version seems as close to a "rough draft" I'm likely to find from an author I admire, and comparing it to the re-written thirty years later version seems like a fantastic example of "in-progress" writing.
HERE IS THE PROBLEM: Copies of the original unrevised 1971 version are out of print and only available in Britain, for the most part. And run $700 - $1000 on Amazon.
I did some digging and found a few copies available in the $220 - $300 range on another site.
HERE IS MY TERRIBLE IDEA.
Since I'm interested in having the two stories to compare more than "owning a first edition zomg", I'm thinking of buying one of the "cheaper" $200ish editions, copying it surreptitiously at Kinko's (perhaps in several trips so they don't get suspicious), then reselling it for the $700 price point.
I have copied an entire 500+ page textbook before once so I know it's possible and that I have the stamina for it.
I have $600 set aside to cover anything I might owe in taxes, so technically, I "have" the money. If I were able to resell the book - even for exactly what I paid for it - by February, it wouldn't make a dent financially. If I could sell it for $400 - $700, I'll have made a profit, possibly a hefty one. Condition doesn't seem to make a difference on what people charge for these since they're so rare and sought after.
The major variable is how long it would take to resell and how much I could resell it for, but I feel like overall it's not a TERRIBLE idea, just kind of a SCARY idea because it's a pretty big initial investment without a 100% GUARANTEE not to fail.
Is this worth doing? For the sake of learning to be a better writer maybe? I mean, I paid $200 for the revision course I'm taking my book through, this is only a little more than that AND I will (ideally) get the money back. Any thoughts would be much appreciated.