Good Luck Getting a Copy of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Pioneer Girl

Illustration for article titled Good Luck Getting a Copy of Laura Ingalls Wilders iPioneer Girl /i

Never underestimate the enduring appeal of Little House on the Prairie. Pioneer Girl, a scholarly packaging of Laura Ingalls Wilder's long-unpublished original memoir, is currently one of the hottest titles on Amazon.

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Originally intended for adults, Pioneer Girl is a darker work and comes chock full of more than 800 annotations. That has done absolutely zilch to dampen enthusiasm—if anything, it's got people fired up. The Wall Street Journal reports that through Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, Pioneer Girl was the single bestselling book on the site. It's so popular that you'll have to wait patiently if you want your copy, because there's no ebook edition and it seems such runaway success caught the publisher, the South Dakota Historical Society Press, off guard:

"The second printing was gone before it came off the press," Ms. Koupal said. "Those who ordered from bookstores are retailers have been waiting a very long time. I have a lot of sympathy for them. All I can say is we're doing the best we can."

A third print run, this time of 45,000, should arrive in early March, she said. She's waiting to receive more details on orders and returns before ordering up an inevitable fourth printing.

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"Everyone keeps saying, 'Where's my copy, where's my copy?'" Beyond Little House blogger Sandra Hume told Slate. "Oh man—I'm speechless," said the press's director. "It just doesn't seem real." Never doubt the commitment of the Little House fandom.

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Thanks to Jezebel's timely reporting last summer, I preordered it. It is fascinating, but very heavily annotated - you might read one paragraph of Wilder's writing, followed/surrounded by two or three pages of notes:

Page one - Laura's writing in the left column:

Page two and three, all notes:

Page four and five:

It is neat to see the illustrations from the first edition as well as family photographs and so on. Not a book you can just read through quickly on the bus.