I do not collect the special book publications, though I do have some extras picked up through magazine purchases. However, I know an older gentleman near the Silver Spring area of Maryland with a huge collection of special publications, almost all of them with multiple (still in original packaging) copies. He "went to town" purchasing deeply discounted publications back in the 70's & '80's when the NGS opened their warehouses to reduce or eliminate their inventory. He also has a complete set of magazines all the way back to the beginning (short about 10 magazines) with bookshelves of extras. If you're interested, send me a personal message and I'll try to connect you two together.
Wow! I'm currently low on cash, but I would appreciate it if you'd send him my email: firstname.lastname@example.org, and a link to this discussion. Maybe once I get a job, I can buy some of his books.
Matthew, thanks for sharing. I also collect the Special Publication books and am always interested to meet fellow collectors. I'll have to get some photos of my collection to post here. I try to keep mine in alphabetic order.because I think it's easier to keep track of them that way.
One of the questions I ask is if anyone has a list of all of the special publications collections so I can see just how close to complete my collection is. I have compiled a checklist for the books I have and would really like to see how close (or far away) I am. Maybe one of the members could zip me what I'm for: the master list of every NGSP Book reference.
Under "Quick Links" - upper left margin of the main page - you'll find the following reference:
Nathan, Roger E. Collectibles of the National Geographic Society. c. 1982 by the author. Serendipity Press, Wilmington, DE.
It's a little old, but up to 1982 I have found this to be an excellent reference list for the collector.
From my experience, the more you collect NGS material, the more you'll discover what "isn't" in any published list and in my opinion, the discovery of which makes collecting all the more intriguing. This is one reason why I've resigned myself just to magazine collecting - I don't have the time for any other addictions...
Good luck - and enjoy!