In Bringing Home the Birkin: My Life in Hot Pursuit of the World's Most Coveted Handbag (William Morrow, 272 pages, $25.95), Michael Tonello recounts how for years he gallivanted around the world buying Birkins and then reselling them.
The former beautician and makeup artist found himself in Barcelona with a five-year apartment lease and no job, so he started selling items on eBay.
He got tipped off to Birkin mania after he sold a deck of Hermes playing cards to Carole Bayer Sager, and the songwriter e-mailed him to "keep me in mind for any Birkins." Tonello, who didn't know what a Birkin was, visited and called Hermes stores, only to be told that there were none or that he would be put on a two-year waiting list.
Eventually he realized the way to...