November 2013 | Nate Pedersen

Betty Cornell's Out of Print Glamour Guide Becomes Bestseller

If you sell antiquarian books and had the book "Betty Cornell's Glamour Guide for Teens" on your shelves last week, it's probably been sold by now. In fact, no one seems to have a copy anymore.

Readers around the country rushed to buy copies of the 1951 guide to teenage popularity after Dreamworks announced early last week that it bought film rights to an upcoming memoir inspired by the book. Maya Van Wagenen - all of 15 years old - employed tips from the book in an effort to become popular at her school in Texas. Van Wagenen kept a diary of her efforts, which she sold in June for an impressive $300,000 to Dutton, a Penguin imprint. Her memoir, entitled "Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek" will be published in April, 2014. The movie will be hot on its heels.

"Betty Cornell's Glamour Guide for Teens," meanwhile, is nowhere to be found. A book that a week ago could be had for $10 - $15 online is now completely absent from the usual listing spots.

As for Betty Cornell herself, she was one of the top junior models in the 1940s, who moved on to lecturing and fashion show commenting after she aged out of her category. She then began writing books for teens, including the glamour guide that inspired Van Wagenen, as well as "Betty Cornell's Popularity Guide for Teens," "All About Boys," and - rather surprisingly - "Betty Cornell's Teen-age Knitting Book." The knitting guide was the only one of the three I could easily find for sale online. It was priced at $80.

Check out this blog post for more details on the glamour guide as well as excerpts from the book.