A Trip to Half Price Books

A few weeks ago I was visiting family in KC (Missouri), and took a trip down to the Westport Half Price Bookstore - a place where I can ALWAYS do some damage. Of course, there was a time constraint, as we had a dinner reservation. (Probably best, for the pocketbook's sake, but my goodness it was hard to leave).

We always manage to find great books at the Half Price Bookstore. Most are in Very Good condition, although you do have to be careful - check for wear, marks & scrapes, and the dreaded remainder mark (which I tend to miss when I'm excited to find a particular title).

The most exciting find: A first printing of The University of California's Autobiography of Mark Twain, vol. 1.

This was a GET THIS BOOK choice back in November of 2010. 75,000 copies were printed for the first run (although originally, it was believed to be 7,500 copies - but many credit this to a typo). It sold out in the first week. 2d print runs sold out nearly as quickly. I ordered a copy in the first week after it's release and was shipped a 3d printing of the edition.

First printings, in Fine/Near Fine condition, are listing for $200-$500 on Abebooks.

What amazes me is that even second and third printings are listing for up to $175.

This is slated to be a 3 volume set. Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2, The Complete and Authoritative Edition is scheduled for release in October 2013, but can be preordered (at a 20% discount no less) from University of California Press (discounted price: $36).


Also exciting, although not as valuable: 
The Eight by Katherine Neville.  (Ballantine, NY, 1988)
I've been looking for a hardbound copy of this title for a long while now. I didn't find a first printing, but it is a nice, clean, crisp copy of an earlier printing.  It's such a good book that it's just nice to have the title back in my collection.

Signed Firsts in Near Fine condition list up to $150.
Unsigned Firsts list for up to $50.

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell (Knopf, NY, 2011)
I found a First/First, but the jacket was price clipped. Otherwise it appears to be a Near Fine copy.

Signed Firsts list up to $125.
Unsigned can list up to $50.

side note: I understand the old idea of price clipping book jackets when the books were being given as gifts. Although, honestly, it seems a bit prideful to me to bring attention to the fact that you do not want someone to know how much the book may've cost you. Especially, when most people (these days) ignore the price. Not to mention, the price is also found on the back cover over the ISBN, but you don't see people cutting that out. (okay, that's the end of my rant).

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