UPDATE #2: Eighty-nine of our readers were able to snag one of these before they were pulled last night, which is doin' good, I think. My orders were fulfilled, along with the orders of 50 of the aforementioned 89; presumably the rest will be shipped today.
The cheapest copy listed on Amazon today is $225. Don't despair, though; there are likely more batches of the second printing to come. I'll keep an eye out, but you do so, too, if you want one.
I'll try to let you know about cases like this in the future, although I don't expect that most photo books will be anywhere close to this volatile in their availability.
UPDATE: Unbelievably, as of 7 a.m. Central time Tuesday morning, the book is listed as sold out on Amazon.com already. (And I just wrote this post late Monday night.) Amazon U.S. might simply have sold out of its first shipment. I'll try to keep you apprised of changes, or you can keep checking through the link below, or you can look for copies from other sources. Barnes and Noble and Photo-Eye are two to check online.
Here's the U.K. link so you can check there. If it says "Available from these sellers," that's the link to other sellers and used copies; if the new one is available it will have a price in bold red numerals and say "In stock / Ships from and sold by Amazon.com."
When we wrote our recent series of "Great Photo Books You Can Buy New" posts, I promised you I'd alert you to any "strong buy" recommendations when they came along.
Because of shortfalls in our special effects budget, will you please just imagine red lights flashing and sirens going off, maybe confetti falling from the ceiling like someone's just won the grand prize on a game show?
The first edition of Steidl's Saul Leiter: Early Color sold out in a New York minute, and prices for used copies quickly soared: even now there's a "collectible" copy of the first printing linked at Amazon for $997.50! I'm happy to say that Steidl has just issued a second printing, and it showed up at Amazon U.S. tonight—I can tell you that because I've literally been checking for it morning, noon and night ever since I heard it was coming.
Leiter (he's still alive) was a mid-century painter who created a major body of color photography that was really only discovered and appreciated recently. His pictures are quick, fragmented, impressionistic, but coloristically very lovely. And very fashionable right now.
And the book is in the "jump on it" category. Steidl books can go out of print abruptly. The first edition of this book was highly prized. If you want it, you shouldn't hesitate. If you're not sure, buy it anyway and keep it in pristine condition, because its value will not go down. I'm going to be watching how fast this printing sells out; should be interesting to see.
Featured Comment by Ken Tanaka: "I had a somewhat puzzled/negative reaction when I first viewed Saul Leiter's color work. In my case, my first exposure was seeing two original prints that my home museum was considering purchasing. But his work eventually sucked me in. To a great degree you have to first forget that these are photographs. Forget what you think you can do with a camera. Look at them as paintings. The shapes and the colors in the compositions are what drew me into the work. But the richness of tonality in the prints are what kept me coming back.
"Many, maybe most, camera owners lean towards literalism in their art tastes. They demand that photographs look like faithful, technically perfect transcriptions of what their eyes see. If your tastes lean this direction then this book will certainly not be to your liking. Saul Leiter's work (particularly in this book) uses the camera as an expressionist brush. (He actually was primarily a painter at a time in the 20th century when the art world was exploding with productive experimentation.) To that end he's using the very new, and very unpredictable, color film medium to 'paint' vignettes of the New York that he saw. Documentation and transcription were not his objective. He used lens focus in the same way a painter might change brushes or change stroke angle or pressure.
"So I suggest that if you're a person who, at this time of life, is fixated on sharp photos and doesn't care for 'modern art' you should probably just skip this book altogether. But, still, don't skip Saul Leiter altogether. Revisit his work. You may find yourself drawn into it, as I was. In fact I was so drawn in that it inspired me to undertake a somewhat kindred project myself."
Featured Comment by Sean: "'I spent a great deal of my life being ignored. I was always very happy that way. Being ignored is a great privilege. That is how I think I learnt to see what others do not see and to react to situations differently. I simply looked at the world, not really prepared for anything.' Saul Leiter."