[The following was originally posted to the Usenet group rec.games.video.classic. I waited until after Christmas to post it to my blog so my mother wouldn't know what she was getting. As a result, this post has been backdated from when it was actually posted, five days later.]
My mother is hard to shop for, but an avid reader, so today I went to a used book store to see if I might find something for her. This led me to wander through a lot more of the hard cover section than I usually do on my infrequent trips there. And in doing so, I finally came across the game section. And what do I find on the shelf between the books on chess and bridge? A copy of Zap!: The Rise and Fall of Atari by Scott Cohen. I have been looking for this book for years! (Possibly because I've been unwilling to pay eBay prices.)
I've actually already read it before. It turned out my local library has a copy. (And yes, I considered doing something unethical like checking it out, failing to return it, and paying the fine, but I'm not that kind of person.) I realize it's not a perfect history. I also realize that it was republished by John Hardie through Xlibris. But that's just not the same as having an original, hard cover copy from 1984.
It makes a lovely addition to my collection. It's in very good condition with a tight spine, free of markings, and still has the dust jacket. Just some light wear along the top and bottom of the spine. Looks like it may have been read once (or possibly not) and then sat on someone's shelf for years before being traded in. Heck, for all I know it could have been sitting on the shelf at the book store for years. (Although not since the '80s, as they had a fire 11 years ago which forced them to restock.) Oh, and the best part was the price: $4 plus tax. (And I did find something for my mother, too.)