Signed Books

Thank you so much for indulging me in yet another experiment with the previous blog entry. If I’d invested a significant amount of time beforehand into learning video editing and filming skills beforehand, I’m sure it could’ve improved, but overall I felt the experience was a nice one not without merit. I did enjoy pretending I had a friend who wanted all my signed books to be rubbed in their face, and a Neil Gaiman signature is so much more impressive when you can see it and not just have it described.

As I said, it is largely thanks to Anderson’s that I have so many signed books. They hold a whole lot of author signings and events. Even if I don’t actually make it to a signing, chances are they’ll have the author sign a surplus of books and put the rest up for sale. Add those books to the trend of authors doing special signings for first editions, like with my one Neil Gaiman book, and coming across signed books is almost becoming a common occurrence for me. As you clearly saw with my signed copy of Trigger Warnings, this can still excite me a great deal. Sometimes, though, I worry that being around all these signed books will spoil me. Sure, not all of the titles and authors are especially well known, but sometimes I still feel like looking at some of the signed books that Anderson’s offers makes me value an author’s signature less.

Partially out of simple curiosity, and partially out of a desire to make sure I don’t become even more of a spoiled wretch, I decided to look into how a signature can change the value of a book. I turned up some pretty interesting results, including a website where I could type in the book, whether it was a first edition, or signed, or not and find out the book’s value. Turn’s out John Green is a bit of a signature slut, (I suppose the fact that I gotten three books with his signature before I’d even started living near Anderson’s should’ve tipped me off,) and so a signed copy of Looking For Alaska or The Fault in Our Stars, first edition or not, will not go for nearly as much as a signed copy of Stephenie Meyer’s The Host. The Host, people, not even a Twilight saga book. It certainly isn’t the quality of the books themselves that causes that difference in worth, let me tell you that. I was smart enough to get a signed copy of the Host when Meyer popped up in town, and it turns out that the book I’m most willing to part with in my collection may be worth the most. Any takers?

That’s the problem, though, with the value of signed books. Often enough, the emotional attachment to the book can really screw with its perceived value. On the potential seller’s side, I’ve got several signed books that I could only picture parting with if I were dead and I actually loved at least one of my still living descendants or friends. Some of those things that add value for me, though, can detract value for a potential buyer. I suppose this one is pretty obvious, but unless a collector is also named Bob or whatever, an copy inscribed to a specific person,( e.g. Bob,) can actually be considered less valuable. Sure, some collectors feel that the more time an author spent with a book, the more they wrote on it, the more valuable, but that’s not the prevailing opinion. I personally feel like Seth Grahame-Smith’s adorable little vampire face signature should count for more whether my name’s on it or not. Not that I’d quickly part with that book anyhow. Oh, and a little caveat with inscriptions. If the book is inscribed to some other person famously closely associated with a writer, then the value goes up whether they’re named Bob or not. I kinda wish John Green had more close friends named Madeline.

Overall, though, I was firmly reminded with my research that just about any signed book, first edition, famous, or otherwise, is generally worth a significantly greater amount than the price paid for a plain copy. I was also firmly reminded, looking at the prices for a few signed books that I own, that I do actually value these books a whole lot and won’t part with them for even a sizable amount. The signatures definitely make me feel a physical presence from the author to complement that mental, psychic presence of the book’s contents. I’ve decided to hold all the signed books I’ve been ridiculously privileged enough to buy that much closer. Except for that Host one people, she’s still up for grabs.


One thought on “Signed Books

  1. Signed books are great to have. It also reminds you of how fun the signing event was, especially if the author has been prominent in your life. I have many signed books from Melissa Marr and Holly Black, my favorite authors, and people who greatly inspire my writing, it’s somewhat sentimental and reaffirming in some cases, as well. None of my friends really understand my anxiety when it comes to my signed novels (especially my Anne Rice signed novel), but it holds a lot of personal value.


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