Thanks to all who wrote in with suggestions about why the elusive book Typhoon had apparently vanished into a black hole rather than reaching me in China, and what I might do about that. Among the things I have learned in the last few hours are:
- It's on sale at the moment at the Hong Kong Book Centre on Des Voeux Road;
- It's will be available six weeks from now, as a £7.99* paperback, direct from Penguin Books in the UK;
- It can be found in various overpriced hardcover versions, and not-yet-available paperbacks, via this Bookfinder site (and some others);
- Amazon.de will have the German paperback edition late next month too (hardback out of stock);
- It's been selling well in hardcover at Filigranes, a leading bookstore in Brussels; Large-print and audio editions are available from this site in England, for £17.95 and up; and (in addition to other reports)...
- It's in stock, and cheaper than any of the alternative in-stock sources, from Amazon.ca in Canada, for the equivalent of $18.62 USD.
So what have we learned here? That it doesn't make sense to try to have books shipped to China (expensive and uncertain). That Amazon.ca is probably the way to go, unless I want to wait six weeks. And that -- while I am grateful for many offers from people to mule the thing in on their next visit to Beijing -- it makes most sense to order one and have it shipped from Canada to the US, then pick it up on my next trip not too long from now.
Also, a consensus hypothesis that the UK hardcover publishers sold more books than they expected; that they didn't have a further press run -- especially as paperback date drew near; and that they have been lethargic about producing a US edition. What I learned when working in the White House decades ago is that blunder, misunderstanding, or miscalculation is usually the explanation for things, as opposed to hyper-sophisticated secret plans. That's probably why this book is so hard to find, as opposed to a deliberate suppression scheme.
What's left to the realm of mystery: whether the book I originally ordered just got lost or was detained; why the publishers didn't try to sell more hardbacks after the initial batch sold out; and why on earth the used copies on Amazon are listed at $75 up to $247.87.
Most important mystery: whether after all this, the damned book will be any good. At least I can count on being able to answer this question at some point.
Sincere thanks to all who volunteered their tips, info, and help.
* Yes, since previous post on this topic have found the right symbols for Pound and Euro.