Saturday, August 27, 2016

Upcoming Signed Editions from Powell's

The fall event calendar at Powell's is chock full of signings, including:

  • Sabaa Tahir, for her 2nd book: A Torch Against the Night (Event: Thursday September 1, 2016), pre-order price: $19.99 USD + tax & shipping.
  • Carl Hiaasen, for Razor Girl (Event: Tuesday September 13, 2016), pre-order price: $26.95 + tax & shipping.
  • Amy Stewart, for Lady Cop Makes Trouble (Event: Monday September 19, 2016), pre-order price: $26 + tax & shipping.
  • Ann Patchett, for Commonwealth (Event: Tuesday September 20, 2016), pre-order price: $27.99 + tax & shipping.
  • J. Patrick Black, for Ninth City Burning (Event: Thursday September 22, 2016), pre-order price: $27 + tax & shipping
  • Colleen Houck, Recreated (Event: Thursday September 29, 2016), pre-order price $17.99 + tax & shipping.
  • Jonathan Safran Foer, Here I Am  (Event: Friday September 30, 2016), pre-order price: $28 + tax & shipping.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Top 10 Most Sought After Out-of-Print Books (in 2015)

Each year releases a top 100 list of most searched for out-of-print book titles. 2015 saw a mix of sex, sports, horror, and art top the chart.

1. Sex 
by  Madonna (i.e. Louise Veronica Ciccione) 
Warner Books; New York, NY, 1992 
Full-Metal, Spiral Bound; First Edition 

2. Rage 
by Stephen King (as Richard Bachman) (*1947) 
Signet; New York, NY, 1977 
Paperback, First Edition 
3. Unintended Consequences 
by  John Ross 
Accurate Press; St. Louis, MO, 1996 
Hardcover; First Edition 
4. Promise Me Tomorrow 
by  Nora Roberts 
Pocket Books; New York, NY, 1984 
Paperback, First Edition
5. Alla Prima: Everything I Know About Painting 
by  Richard Schmid 
Stove Prairie Press; Manchester Center, VT 1999 
First Edition 
6. Finding the Winning Edge 
by  Bill Walsh 
Sports Pub; Champaign, IL 1998 
First Edition 
7. The Vision and Beyond, Prophecies Fulfilled and Still to Come 
by  David R. Wilkerson 
World Challenge Publications; Lindale, TX, 2003 
8. Permaculture: A Designers' Manual 
by  Bill Mollison 
Island Press; Washington, DC, 1990 
9. Halloween 
by  Curtis Richards 
Bantam; New York, NY, 1979 
10. Mastering Atmosphere & Mood in Watercolor 
by  Joseph Zbukvic 
International Artist Publishing, 2002 
Hardcover, First Edition 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Book Collecting Apps 2016 Review

Time once again to check in with the slew of book collecting and categorizing apps out there. Some of the oldies, but goodies showed up rather prominently—still going strong, while other newer (& promising) apps are trying to make their marks.

Oldies but goodies

Book Crawler by Jaime Stokes

Cost: Free for trial/limited version; $2.99 for unlimited entries
Rating: 4.5 stars (out of 5)

This one is only available for iOS (iPhone & iPad), and now there is a desktop version (available for mac only: $14.99).

Developer website:

People who continue to use this app appear to be quite happy with it, and in fact, I liked it quite a lot while I had an iPhone. The price has gone up since then, but is still quite reasonable given the features.


  • Uses device's camera to scan ISBN & add title automatically
  • Batch scanning support (with separate scanner)
  • Integration with: Google Books, Drop Box, iBooks, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads
  • Ability to sort entries by title, author, copyright, date, decimal, genre, collection, rating, if read/when, ownership status, media format, series information, loan status, price, or customizable fields
  • Can create customized categories (i.e. Science Fiction books read in 2016)
  • Can manually add items

CLZ Books by Collectorz

Cost: Free for trial/limited version; $14.99 for unlimited version 
Rating: 4.5 stars (out of 5)

Available for iOS and Android

Developer website:

Collectorz started out as a desktop application but with the onset of smart phones has moved rather robustly into the app world.  Initially their phone apps were offered to enhance the desktop version (and as such weren't as fleshed out as they are now). Now the apps are stand-alone products. The hardest thing to overcome will be the price tag, especially in a world where perfectly decent Free and nearly free cataloging apps are available. But CLZ Books is a solid product and I've only ever had one issue with it in the 4+ years that I've owned it (and that was when I switched from iPhone to Android, prior to cloud storage being offered. I lost and had to rescan my library data, something that shouldn't be an issue now).


  • Uses device's camera to scan ISBN & add title automatically (Collectorz also sells a batch scanner app)
  • Batch scanning available
  • Manually search for and add items
  • Back up to the Cloud for free
  • Can order your list by author, title, or year published
  • Create your own tags / subcategories
  • Sync data between devices / Collectorz desktop app (additional cost)

Up and comers

Shelfie by BitLit

Cost: Free. In app purchases for eBooks and Audiobooks available.
Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)

Available for iOS and Android

Developer website:

Shelfie is an interesting addition to the book cataloging app library. Rather than scanning your books' barcodes, you can take a snap shot of the books on your shelf and the app software will read the book spines or book covers to automatically grab information from Google Books and then upload it into your library. Reviews seem to claim that this function works pretty well. For those titles that can't be automatically input, there is a manual function.

The highlight of this app, however, is the fact that they claim to offer free eBooks and/or audio books for the titles you own. Of course, to prove that you own the book, they ask that you write your name on the copyright page—which is an absolute deal breaker for collectors. A secondary option is to affix a bookplate with your name on it—again on the copyright page—which is equally ridiculous to collectors. Still, that photo function is pretty cool.


  • Add books by taking pictures of your bookshelf (the software will automatically scan the book spines and add the titles)
  • Manually add ISBNs for books that aren't recognized
  • Search Google Books for titles and descriptions
  • Built-in Social Networking element
  • Goodreads integration
  • Offers free eBooks / Audio books (although the titles are rather limited)

Libib by Libib Inc.

Cost: Free
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

Available for iOS and Android

Developer website:

Reviews claim that the scanning/capture mechanism is fast (unlike other apps), but it can load incorrect information into the library. This seems to happen a lot when retired ISBN numbers are re-used by publishers. Some apps have found a way to either return all possible options or default to the most recently published title. It appears that Libib hasn't worked out that kink yet.

Reviewers like that you have more control over categorization, in that you can create up to 100 different libraries and subcategories—so you can group all of your Neil Gaiman graphic novels in one library without having to sort through other titles that might share the "graphic novel," "Neil Gaiman," or "fantasy" tags.


  • Works in conjunction with the website (free subscription option available)
  • Scan books via smartphone camera to automatically add title and cover information
  • Batch editing capabilities
  • Can have up to 100 different libraries / subcategories
  • Can have up to 100,000 titles
  • Cloud backup
  • Import / Export libraries via CSV
  • Built-in Social Networking element
  • Categorize your titles via tag-system
  • Create and publish reviews

Previous Posts:

Book Collector Apps (2011)
Book Collecting Apps: 2012
Attack of the Book Collecting Apps, 2013

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Upcoming Book Signings from The Signed Page

Just a heads up: The Signed Page is offering signed copies of J. Patrick Black's debut science fiction novel Ninth City Burning. You can also pre-order signed copies of Sabaa Tahir's A Torch Against the Night and Brom's Lost Gods.

Ninth City Burning Book Description:
For fans of Red RisingStarship Troopers, and Ender’s Game comes an explosive, epic science fiction debut…
We never saw them coming. 
Entire cities disappeared in the blink of an eye, leaving nothing but dust and rubble. When an alien race came to make Earth theirs, they brought with them a weapon we had no way to fight, a universe-altering force known as thelemity. It seemed nothing could stop it—until we discovered we could wield the power too.
Five hundred years later, the Earth is locked in a grinding war of attrition. The talented few capable of bending thelemity to their will are trained in elite military academies, destined for the front lines. Those who refused to support the war have been exiled to the wilds of a ruined Earth.
But the enemy’s tactics are changing, and Earth’s defenders are about to discover this centuries-old war has only just begun. As a terrible new onslaught looms, heroes will rise from unlikely quarters, and fight back.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

2016 Hugo Awards Announced

The 2016 Hugo Awards were voted on and announced last night at the World Science Fiction Convention. The short list with winners (in bold) are listed below:

Best Novel (2,903 final ballots, 3695 nominating ballots)
  • The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
  • Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie (Orbit)
  • Seveneves: A Novel by Neal Stephenson (William Morrow)
  • The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher (Roc)
Best Novella (2,903 final ballots, 2416 nominating ballots)
  • Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (
  • Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold (Spectrum)
  • Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds (Tachyon)
  • Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson (Dragonsteel Entertainment)
  • The Builders by Daniel Polansky (
Best Graphic Story (2,171 final ballots, 1838 nominating ballots)
  • The Sandman: Overture written by Neil Gaiman, art by J.H. Williams III (Vertigo)
  • Invisible Republic Vol 1 written by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman, art by Gabriel Hardman (Image Comics)
  • The Divine written by Boaz Lavie, art by Asaf Hanuka and Tomer Hanuka (First Second)
  • Full Frontal Nerdity by Aaron Williams (
  • Erin Dies Alone written by Grey Carter, art by Cory Rydell (

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (2,406 final ballots, 1922 nominating ballots)
Award for the best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer of 2014 or 2015, sponsored by Dell Magazines. (Not a Hugo Award, but administered along with the Hugo Awards.)
  • Andy Weir *
  • Alyssa Wong *
  • Pierce Brown *
  • Sebastien de Castell *
  • Brian Niemeier
* Finalists in their 2nd year of eligibility.

For a full list, see the Hugo Awards website.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Upcoming Fall 2016 (mostly) Debut Fiction

Literary Fiction:

The Mothers
Brit Bennett. Riverhead, Oct. 11

This debut novel begins with 17-year-old Nadia Turner’s pregnancy (the father is the local pastor’s son), and the subsequent cover-up. Years later, living in debt, the characters are haunted by what might have happened if they had made different decisions.

Mystery / Horror:

The Dry
Jane Harper. Flatiron, Jan. 10

David Baldacci calls Australian author Harper’s first novel “one of the most stunning debuts I’ve ever read.” John Lescroart adds, “With The Dry, Jane Harper immediately takes her place among the elites in the mystery world.”

Joe Ide. LB/Mulholland, Oct. 18

Ide, a Japanese-American, grew up in South Central Los Angeles reading Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. High school dropout IQ, the culturally confused hero of this first novel, identifies with his fellow misfit Holmes.

Jan Fedarcyk. Simon & Schuster Oct. 11

This debut novel from “the FBI’s First Lady” (Vanity Fair) introduces a brilliant young special agent, Kay Malloy, whose assignment to the Counterintelligence Program in New York City has devastating consequences—both personal and professional.

Sci-Fi / Fantasy:

Behind the Throne
K.B. Wagers. Orbit, Aug. 2 

Taut suspense and dark, rapid-fire humor mark this excellent debut, in which an interplanetary adventurer is forced to take her place as the heir to an imperial throne.

This one actually came out a couple of weeks ago. 

It has gotten a starred review from Publishers Weekly & Library Journal and was Library Journal's "debut of the month" for August.

Crossroads of Canopy
Thoraiya Dyer. Tor, Jan. 31

The highly anticipated fantasy debut from the Aurealis- and Ditmar-award-winning author is set in a giant mythical rainforest controlled by living gods.

Connie Willis. Del Rey, Oct. 4

SFWA Grand Master Willis’s first novel since 2010’s Blackout/All Clear is a rollicking send-up of obsessive cellphone usage in too-near-future America. 

(sorry, I had to throw this in because I'm a Connie Willis fan.)

Ninth City Burning
J. Patrick Black. Ace Sept. 6

In this epic science fiction debut, Earth has battled an alien force for over 500 years, but the course of the war is about to change.

Friday, August 19, 2016


eBay + Beware. Okay, I see now that that may've been a failed blog title. It worked really well in my head though.

Here's the deal, sometimes, when I'm looking for information on a specific book and can't find it in any of the usual places, I'll hop on eBay and do a quick search. To be clear, I've never really bought a book on eBay because what I find, more often than not, are what I will henceforth call "wantful listings" (yeah, made up word, but it's much nicer than some of the other things that came to mind, so we're sticking with it).

A "wantful listing" is one that is misleading—in that it asks for an elevated price for a book whose first printings may be collectible, but the copy offered up is not. (This is where you get to choose your own adventure) Wantful listing copies are usually:

  • Not a first printing, but presented as a first edition (slippery slope)
  • Not a true first, but presented as such
  • Possibly a first thus, but presented as an actual first edition
  • A book club edition
  • Battered beyond belief, bent corners, water stains, foxing, ripped covers, etc.
  • Lacking dust jackets (with first issue points)
  • Has a facsimile signature, but is presented as a "signed edition"
It's that last one that I came across this weekend. 

I don't remember what I was searching for, but Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series popped up in the search. The listing was for a signed, slip-cased edition of (I think it was) Eclipse.

I've come across this before. A couple of years ago I was in the used bookstore and came across this edition. The "slip case" to which they refer is cheap cardboard and the signature is actually a facsimile—printed on the page when the book was printed. It's not an actual signature. It's not even an autopen signature. It's a part of the book design.

This is what the facsimile signature looks like. Nice, tight, clean, no "flaws" in the signature at all. The lines are perfectly even with no ink-pooling or hesitation marks. In fact, if you compare the signature from one book to another, they'll be absolutely identical. (Not even autopen signatures are 100% identical from book to book.)

This was the copy I found at the used bookstore in 2014.

Here's another copy with the facsimile signature (found on eBay this morning). Even the placement is identical.

Here is an actual Stephenie Meyer signature. Notice that it's loose (bigger) and sloppier, with pen / ink flaws and ink pooling where she changed the stroke direction or finished the signature.

The difference in value between the two?

A facsimile signature is a cute little novelty, but does not add to the value. The only value for the "collector's edition" is due to the fact that it was published as a "collector's edition." This is aimed primarily at fans of the series (not book collectors), who, if collecting, want to look for the "first thus" printing (with the number 1 in the number line). 

High value, in fine condition (and this includes the slip-case), is probably about $40. I think the original price was in the range of $25-$30.

The collector's edition is neither "rare" nor "signed" so don't let sellers convince you of either of those points. Some of the misleading language I've come across in sellers' descriptions of this edition include:
"Signed by the author on the title page."
"Rare signed first collector's edition..."
"In a beautiful slip case..." 
The closest appropriate description I found, states "SIGNED with red auto pen on the title page." But even that language is misleading, as it was not actually signed. Rather, it includes a facsimile of the author's signature (printed) on the title page.

An actual Stephenie Meyer signature can elevate the price by several hundred dollars. Collectors may want to look for signed, first U.K. printings, as fewer were published (and signed). Signed firsts in very good to fine condition range from $150 to $850.

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