Thirsty for the Duke of Hastings: ‘Bridgerton’ hardbacks sell for up to $800 online

Following the Christmas Day release of “Bridgerton” on Netflix, demand for the books behind the series has skyrocketed — and so has their cost, with paperbacks out of stock, as first reported by People.com, and original hardcovers on sale for up to $800.

The drama, from executive producer Shonda Rhimes, is set in 19th century England, a world in which bejeweled debutantes in dire need of sex ed vie for the attention of men while trying to steer clear of Gossip Girl-like Lady Whistledown, whose column on the upper crust’s most intimate secrets could ruin their chances at landing a husband.

The first of Julia Quinn’s eight-part book series was published in 2000. As the author has noted, she and Avon Books, the romance imprint of HarperCollins, originally envisioned a trilogy. Readers, however, begged Quinn for more. Now, the juggernaut includes the series, a collection of short stories, a novella about the Bridgerton siblings’ mother and a prequel.

Quinn wasn’t even shopping around the rights to the series when she found out that Rhimes wanted to create a TV show based on her novels some four years ago, she said in an interview with Oprah Magazine. Now, booksellers are struggling to keep up with demand. Paperbacks are out of stock till late January at Barnes & Noble. On Amazon, hardcovers were going for as much as $890 this week. Desperate readers are encouraged to try an ebook.

Despite the series’ success, some longtime fans have complained about its color-conscious casting, noting that, in the novel, the male lead had blue eyes. Others argue the show’s efforts don’t go far enough.

But Quinn, who was a consultant for the project, supports the choice to cast Black actors as characters written as white people in its source material — including Regé-Jean Page’s portrayal of Simon, Duke of Hastings.

“They just made something absolutely incredible that’s both the original and isn’t the original — it’s more,” she said in the interview.

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