Money's been tight lately for me, as it has been for a lot of people in this economy. But there are some books I absolutely have to buy, despite my usual policy of never buying books unless they're used and/or on sale.* Curt Herr's critical edition of Varney the Vampire was one of those books, leading me to break my other book-buying policy: never buy anything you could get for free, legally, online.
I have never had a credit card (aside from debit/credit cards, which aren't really the same because the money is already in your account). I've always been kind of scared by the prospect of dealing with invisible money that I need to remember to pay back. But I like buying books from Amazon, and whenever I check out they always have that ad: apply for the Amazon.com credit card and get $30 off your purchase!
Varney the Vampire was $30, so I figured, okay, I'll bite. So now I have a credit card and a (nearly) free copy of Varney the Vampire. And to be completely honest, the book is worth the $30 (if I had it) just for the supplementary material, including an introduction by Curt Herr and several more essays on Varney the Vampire and the culture of penny dreadfuls. (Did you know, for example, that James Malcolm Rymer was writing ten different serials when he was putting out Varney the Vampire? With that in mind, I'm actually impresed by the lack of more continuity errors. I write several thousand words a day, but I don't try to keep a coherent plot--or even an incoherent plot--around it.)
Anyhow, I wrote a full review of the annotated Varney the Vampire, and plan to include some more interesting and accurate background information in my analysis of future chapters.
* I want to support fellow writers by buying new books; I really do. But when I remember how a simple paperback used to be $3.50 or $4 when I was growing up and now it's $8 (and let's not even speak of hardcovers), it just makes me feel old as well as poor.