As NIFA Aircraft Rec competitors know, Jane's All the World's Aircraft is the official source for judging.
As NIFA Aircraft Rec competitors also know, those big fabric-bound books can be horrendously expensive.
A few years back, I hit the jackpot. Just before driving through Chicago enroute to family Christmas in Michigan and on a whim, I performed a certain Chicago Craigslist search. Turned out, a small library was interested in selling their huge collection of used Jane's yearbooks for what amounted to about $10 each.
A quick phone call and a few hours later, this was the result:
I consider myself extremely fortunate to have scored a collection that includes half of the 1950s, almost all of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, and some of the 1990s. But it actually wasn't a once-in-a-lifetime deal.
With patience, you can find darn cheap used examples on Amazon. $15-20 is not an uncommon price for editions from the 1960s through the 1980s. But anything newer than 1995 tends to become disgustingly expensive.
Today, I discovered that, for some reason, the 2001/2002 edition is unusually inexpensive:
2000/2001 - $127
2001/2002 - $18
2002/2003 - $130
2003/2004 - $438
2004/2005 - $130
2005/2006 - $629
2006/2007 - $694
2007/2008 - $880
2008/2009 - $915
2009/2010 - $965
2010/2011 - $1972
If you'd like to take advantage of the deal, here's the link.