The Many Covers of Joe Hill's Heart Shaped Box

As a brief introduction, Joe Hill (son of Stephen King) is the author of the widely popular Locke and Key graphic novel series, as well as  a writer of horror novels. His debut novel, Heart Shaped Box (__, February 13, 2007) is essentially the story of an aging rockstar who collects rather odd, if not morbid, items. Newest to his collection of oddities is a haunted suit that once belonged, unbeknownst to him, to the (step)father of a groupie that the now retired rockstar once dated (and who later killed herself).

I got an email recently asking about a first, signed edition of Heart Shaped Box with a "rare" dust jacket (being sold on eBay for $2,000 - you'll have to scroll down the page for the description and images).

Apart from the mainstream printing, there were a couple of signed, limited editions of this title that came out in 2007 as well. (I am, of course, focusing on English language, first printings, and hard covers)

William Morrow, New York, 2007

There are no printing numbers on the first U.S. printing, although Joe Hill did do a signing tour, so there are a few signed first editions out there.

Abe Books is listing these for up to $320.

There appear to be two covers from this publisher: one shows the background behind the author's name as black, the other shows it as green. There doesn't appear to be a difference in listing prices between the two.

Gollancz / Orion, 2007 (UK)

Gollancz did a regular (trade) edition, and a signed, limited edition of 1300 slipcased copies.

The Trade edition appears to have a couple of slightly different dust jacket versions. Most dust jackets feature a review blurb by Neil Gaiman above the title. It's not clear how many "plain" dust jackets were actually released, or if this was the pre-publication reviewer's image (approved for book reviews posted online).

These are listing for up to $130 signed.

The eBay listing mentioned above appears to display the cover with the Neil Gaiman blurb on the front. According to the description, however, the first state dust jacket displays a price of £9.99, with a blurb on the back flap by Ramsey Campbell. According to the seller, in the 2d state dust jacket, this was replaced by a blurb from James Rollins and the price was bumped to £12.99.

None of the other listings I've come across mention any of this, so it may very well be a rare jacket. As for whether it warrants the $2,000 price tag -- well, that can only be determined by the beholder. If you think it's worth it, then it's worth it. I will say this though, that particular "signed" copy is actually a bookplate signed by the author and affixed to the title page by the publisher -- there are collectors out there who deem this style of signed copies to be of lesser value than those books that are actually handled and signed by the author. Just something to think about.

The Limited edition has the same basic cover design with embossed elements and a"Limited Signed Edition" statement above the title. This is a slip-cased edition of 1300.

Listings over on Abe Books range from $100 to $350 (watch the product descriptions to make sure they list the slip-case). These listings don't usually tell you the number out of 1300 -- although the better listings will mention that it is from the limited edition of 1300. Also watch for the "Limited Signed Edition" printed above the title, if there is a seller image.

Subterranean Press, 2007 (US)

The Sub Press edition was divided into:

Limited signed edition of 300 clothbound copies (numbered 201-500). This lists between $300 and $550 over on Abe Books.

Deluxe Limited signed edition of 200 copies (numbered 1-200), also bound in cloth, although a different color than the Limited edition. I found 1 listing on Abe Books (for #194): $750.

Lettered edition of 15 leather-bound copies (lettered A-O), housed in a tray case. You probably won't see any of these on the market any time soon, but you can bet they'll be listing in the thousands.

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