The Unbearable Banishment: Can Book Collecting Lead to Dementia?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Can Book Collecting Lead to Dementia?

I bought a signed proof of Nick Hornby’s last book, Slam. I don’t think this book was given as much attention as his others because it’s a young adult novel, but I thought it was a fine read. I was amazed at how inexpensive the proof was. And signed, no less! Every once in a while, if you keep your eye out, you stumble across something that’s being sold way under market value. Then you pounce.

I finally got it in the mail and it was in perfect condition. Proofs are nothing more than perfect bound paperbacks that are prone to damage and when you collect books, condition is king. I happily trotted over to my bookcase, opened the glass doors and there on the Nick Hornby shelf was a beautiful signed proof of Slam. I forgot that I had already bought one.

I’ll bet your thinking that I made a clumsy mistake, but you’d be wrong about that. If one signed Nick Hornby proof in mint condition is good, then two are GREAT! Especially at this price!

The first step is admitting you have a problem and I’m just not there yet.


Blogger kyknoord said...

I agree. Admit nothing!

September 9, 2008 at 9:12 AM  
Blogger mjp said...

You are not really a collector unless you occasionally unknowingly buy things you already have. Someone who who has never done that is no more than a rank amateur.

September 9, 2008 at 3:22 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

k: Spoken like someone who stands accused.

m: Spoken like someone who knows a thing or two about collecting books (wink-wink).

September 9, 2008 at 4:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it because it's a proof that it's valuable? I have many author signed paperbacks from the years that I was a member of Gleebooks. Roughly 100 members would buy books at each reading and the author sat down and signed them all then went on to the next city and did the same.

so that means there are 1000's of signed copies of E. Annie Proulx' books and Colm Toibin's books etc etc out there in the marketplace. some people bought duplicate copies and had them signed as well.

I thought books had to be first editions to be valuable but maybe that doesn't hold true any more. Are proofs valuable if they aren't signed? I often see unsigned proofs for sale when I'm scrounging around dusty old bookshops

September 9, 2008 at 6:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, Nick Hornby proofs are allright by me.

Quick note of thanks for emailing me about Irvine Welsh's West Coast Tour of his new book. I'll see if I can make it.


September 9, 2008 at 7:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah! That's why I have two copies of Clive Barker's "Abarat" and two copies of Richard Bachman's "The Regulators". *Sigh* None of them have been signed, however.

My daughter is a big fan of Chuck Palahniuk and has ordered (and received) at least a couple of his books - signed - from a bookstore in his hometown in Oregon.

September 9, 2008 at 11:19 PM  

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