Thursday, May 08, 2008

Booker Value

How stupid of me not to have bought and kept carefully all those Booker prize winners over the years. I can't think of many things that appreciate in value quite so quickly, can you?

Here's a list of the ten most expensive Booker books that AbeBooks has sold through its site. (Found via the Papercuts blog.)
  1. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie $3,000 - Signed first edition.
  2. In A Free State by V.S. Naipaul - $2,560 - First edition, inscribed by the author
  3. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy - $1,800 - First Indian edition of 1997 winner
  4. Life of Pi by Yann Martel - $1,200 - Signed first Canadian edition, one of only 2,500 copies, of 2002 winner
  5. Life & Times of Michael K and Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee - $1,150 - Coetzee’s two winning novels (1983 and 1999 respectively) sold together, both signed first editions.
  6. The Elected Member by Bernice Rubens - $637 - First edition of 1970 winner
  7. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje - $624 - Signed first U.K. edition of 1992 winner
  8. Possession by A.S. Byatt - $500 - Signed first edition of 1990 winner.
  9. The Gathering by Anne Enright - $500 - Signed first edition of last year’s winner
  10. Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally - $500 - Signed first edition in olive clamshell box of 1982 winner
Notice well how the value shoots up when a book is signed. (If that doesn't get you to attend more author events, I wonder what will!)

I still feel really sick about my missing first edition copy of The English Patient lent to a "friend". Even though it wasn't signed it would be worth around US$300 now ... but the real value is sentimental.

Abebooks is also joining in the 40th anniversary celebrations of the prize by with a reader's poll where you can vote for your favourite Bookers.


Anonymous said...

I'm rich, I'm rich! I've MANY signed first editions. Of the list, I've 1, 7, 8. Rox

Madcap Machinist said...

I have a signed first of 'The Stories of Muriel Spark'. I think it was a payless buy... and never noticed it until someone pointed it out to me.

Wonder what it's worth. Surely more than 10 ringgit.

Chet said...

Ia a signed copy worth more if purchased first hand and then given to the author to sign, instead of acquired secondhand?

bibliobibuli said...

reza - only between US$20-$40 if abebooks is to be believed (the most expensive copy is not signed and is $67.89) but hang onto it because it will appreciate

bloody hell rox - you ARE rich! they're signed copies?

i am kicking myself because i could have had signed copies of several of them if i had bought through a Uk book seller called "the good book guide" - as a special hook they used to get authors to sign the copies before they posted them out. never again will i hesitate!

chet - i can't see that it would matter too much except it might seem a bit odd if the book is published in 1960 and signed in 2006! (you could ask the author not to date it!) i have asked authors to sign second-hand books - gave paul bailey a whole pile!

it's very interesting that the signature alone is worth more than if YOUR name is added too.

but doesn't it seem mercenary to "please sign my book without my name because it's for investment"!

Chet said...

Sharon - I mean if the signed copy is purchased secondhand already signed. Like Reza's copy of the Muriel Spark book.

I am still kicking myself for not buying a copy of Toni Morrison's Beloved and asking her to sign it when she came to read at UEA as part of the Beloved book tour in 1989. My excuse was I was a poor student then, and 30-odd quid was a lot of money.

rani said...

I didn't know it's worth that much. kind of like having celebrities to signed on baseball cap or shirts or posters. Must keep in mind to visit sessions of renowned authors signing their books, and wear a hat of patience to line up for the session.

Sharanya said...

I'm pretty sure I have a first edition of The English Patient. How can I check if it actually is?

bibliobibuli said...

sharanya - just check at the front of the book if the date is the same as first date published. also take a look at the cover and details on the abebooks website

Madcap Machinist said...

The inscription says, "For Susan, all good wishes, Muriel Spark". "Wishes" could easily be "writes"...

MS has interesting handwriting, I quite enjoyed analysing it. ;-)

bibliobibuli said...

that is the real value an insciption adds and how sad susan dumped it!

Anonymous said...

Now the interesting thing is, who is Susan ? there could be a good story here somewhere :)

Madcap Machinist said...

you know if someone wrote a booker-winning book about it, it might even raise the value of my book.

Leon Wing said...

oh my, I too have a 1st edition of hardback English Patient, but not signed - still $300?

And at the KLAB I saved Anil's Ghost for Eugene. The fool who gave it away!! And I have a hardback US edition, bought from SF Borders??? wonder how much that?

And gosh Reza has a signed Muriel Spark??? So so jealous.

bibliobibuli said...

leon - price for US hardback first edition unsigned seems to be about $85. i'm jealous because i only have a crappy paperback and all the pages falling out (after one reading! a book that self-destructs!)

Anonymous said...

i have a hardback first edition autographed copy of night train by martin amis.

unfortunately i don't think it's worth anything because i scrawled my name on the next page.


Chet said...

Leon - if it were not for that "fool", Eugene would not have a free copy of Anil's Ghost.

We all have different reasons for giving things away. Maybe that "fool" had a double copy so s/he decided to benefit someone.

And if that other donor didn't give Half of a Yellow Sun, you wouldn't now be the owner of a free copy.

bibliobibuli said...

pong - you can check here for another copy like yours but it isn't likely to be valuable - yet. i think it depends on how many copies are published to begin with, how popular the book becomes, and how long ago it was published. some literary fiction has a very small first print run. a first edition of anne enright's booker winner would be a very good investment.

chet - whoever brought along the book did so because they knew it would find a good home with another book lover!

Anonymous said...

Arg, the story possibilities inherent in a mysterious signed book... :)