A Wellington, New Zealand library patron recently returned a copy of The Dunwich Horror and Others by H. P. Lovecraft 23 years past due. The original due date was February 12, 1988.
If the 80 cent per day fine was applied to The Dunwich Horror and Others, the borrower would owe $6851.20, but the Wellington system considers items overdue by 28 days or more “as long-term overdue” and a maximum of $NZ 22.40 (about $19.06 in US dollars) is incurred.
The library does not offer amnesty days for the free return of books. Wellington Libraries manager Jane Hill explained, “We have found in the past that books returned are largely very old and not ones we want.”
However, if the book is indeed the one pictured here from the news account, the library may want to check the copyright page. If it is a first edition as originally published in 1963 by Arkham House in an edition of 3,133 copies, it might be worth more than $20. Since one assumes it is marred by library stamps and markings and there’s no indication of the book’s condition, it probably isn’t worth a great deal. Still, with the dust jacket intact and in fair condition, it might bring in a few bucks more if sold.