Hermes is synonymous with Paris and the shops are always packed with tourists looking to buy a bit of French-ness to bring back from their trip. I was surprised that the saddles cost less than the Birkins but I guess that is due to the simple economic principle of supply and demand. I don't think Koto Bolofo's upcoming book La Maison will address that issue but he will give you a glimpse behind the scenes at the workshops and how the tres cher bags and other leathergoods are made as well as a peek into the museum and archives.
An amusing book that just might give you a few hints on how to get around the waiting list for It Bag is Bringing Home the Birkin: My Life in Hot Pursuit of the Worldn't Most Coveted Handbag by Michael Tonello. I've been hearing great things about this book and can't wait to read it! I can also tell you that if all else fails, I recently saw a few "Birkin" bags for sale on the street! Gotta love New York!