On newer editions I hear there are problems, though. Older editions should be availble for a reasonable price if you look in the right places.
As for the book itself - WOW. I've also had a very strong affinity for two subjects this book covers - the seamier, hidden side of cities, and 1920s-1930s Paris. In the text he added to the 1970s edition, Brassai lamented how, even in the 1970s, the seedy Paris he had grown up with and loved was dead. He questioned the idea of prettying up everything and cities losing character. It is more true now, 3 decades after it was written, then it was then. Brassai lamented the loss of, among other things, gas lighting, street urinals, clochards (the homeless who lived under the bridges), the Les Halles market, and many other things. Likewise, in modern times, it's hard to stroll down the almost nauseatingly hip Rue de Lappe and believe it was once the biggest streetwalker hangout in all of Europe at the time, or that the Place de Contrescarpe or Rue Mouffetard were seedy.
But they were, and it makes more fascinating reading and viewing. Brassai draws us into his secret world, and I thank him for doing so. He weaves for us an engaging and fascinating look at the Parisian world of the time as any Balzac or Proust novel, I believe that.
He brings us pictures of lovers, seamy carnivals and dance halls, sewage sanitation workers making their nightly rounds, homeless people living under a bridge with their pets, a mysterious fat woman, an opium den, cabarets, prostitutes, small-time cons and hoods, cops, urinals, and much more. It is a truly fascinating world of a time long past he brings us into. I liked all the pictures greatly, but in particular, I liked the carnival pictures, the shots from atop Notre Dame at night, the picture of the guy standing up and kissing his girlfriend on the carnival ride was a sweet moment frozen in time, the two lovers sharing a tender moment looking at each other on a street, the opium den photos, the "novice" prosititute, heck, I may as well just stick to my original sentiment - they're all great.
Everyone should read and view this book, even if the subject matter hasn't interested them up to this point. It's a look at a time and place paradoxically radically different and not so different from our own.