The other day, I stopped in a nearby used bookstore while out for an evening walk. As I scanned the SF section, I saw a copy of John Eric Holmes' Mahars of Pellucidar, a licensed Edgar Rice Burroughs Pellucidar novel that I had owned a third of a century ago but had accidentally eliminated from my collection when I weeded out a few thousand unwanted SF volumes back in the early 90s. Since I've been in a Burroughs phase recently, I decided to pick it up, still regretting that I had gotten rid of my original copy.
On the way home, I began flipping through the book in preparation to read it. One can't simply begin reading a book with the first page, of course; instead, one must peruse the book, look at the front and back covers, scan the title page and the copyright page, sample the interior font... it's a ritual for me that must preface any actual reading--and it's perhaps one of the reasons why I'll never give up physical books for e-books. Lo and behold, the book that I had just purchased was indeed the same copy I had sold to Tom at the Marietta Book Exchange many years before. While it showed some minor wear, it was still in remarkably good condition.
My best guess is that someone bought the book from Tom or from Cathy (who purchased Tom's store several years ago and has gradually processed out the science fiction he had warehoused over the years), then traded it in at the store near my house. I can't even begin to calculate the odds of a book randomly catching my eye during its brief duration on the used bookstore shelf, only to have it turn out to be my original copy!
I'd love to know who else has enjoyed this book since it left my library. Now that it's back, though, I've read through it and I give it my ERB seal of approval: strong action, Burroughs-esque story structure, a self-assured capable hero-... it's all in there!