Hits & Misses, Revisiting Recommended Titles

I've talked about a lot of books since the incarnation of this blog 5 years ago. I was curious to see how some of my suggestions have fared in the collector's market (realizing, of course, that there'd be some hits & probably a lot more misses). 

Over the next few weeks, I'll peruse the archives and compare some of those suggested collectibles to the current market listings. (As always, prices shown are for books in Very Good to Fine condition. Prices are based on Abebooks.com listings at the time of this posting and are meant to reflect book values).

Binocular Vision by Edith Pearlman
Recommended January 17, 2011
Published: Lookout Books (2011)
Original cover price: $18.95
First print run: small
First printings for the Softcover are listing for between $60 (unsigned) and $225 (signed); Subsequent Hardback printing, if signed, is listing for about $70

Graceling by Kristin Cashore (debut novel)
Recommended July 13, 2010
Published: Harcourt (2008)
Original price: $17.00 
First print run: unknown
First printings are listing between $70 (unsigned) and $150 (signed).

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi 
Recommended July 13, 2010
Published: Little Brown (2010)
Original price: $17.99
First print run: unknown
First printings (without the award stickers) are listing between $35 (unsigned) and $75 (signed).

:: Not as valuable as folks (me included) were predicting, but let's see how it fares in the next 5 years.

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (debut novel)
Recommended July 17, 2010 (I have to admit to not getting sucked into this book the first time around. Thankfully, I gave it another chance)
Published: Nightshade (2009)
Original Price: $24.95
First print run: 10,000
First printings are listing between $185 (unsigned) to about $2,000 (signed).

C by Tom McCarthy
Recommended Aug 30, 2010
Published: Jonathan Cape (2010) in UK, Alfred A. Knopf (2010) in US
Original Price: £
First print run: small
First printings are listing between $78 (unsigned US or UK) and $120 (signed US), $225 (signed UK)

Illustrado by Miguel Syjuco
Recommended Aug. 23, 2010
Published: FSG (2010)
Original Price:$26
First print run: unknown
I only found one first printing (US) listed over at Abebooks for $154 (signed)

:: In 2010 signed US firsts were listing at $100.

I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore (James Frey)
Recommended September 30, 2010
Published: Harper Collins (2010) in US
Original Price: $17.99
First print run: unknown, but probably fairly large since it was published just prior to the movie release.
First US printings are listing from $20 - $50 (unsigned), and $89 (signed as Pittacus Lore) to $150 (signed as James Frey)

In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff (debut novel)
Recommended September 20, 2010
Published: Minotaur (2009)
Original Price: $24.95
First print run: unknown
First printings are listing for $15-$20 (unsigned) and $25-$225 (signed)

:: not quite sure what the reason is for the wide variance in signed prices.

The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Mark Twain, Harriet E. Smith, Benjamin Griffin, Victor Fischer, Michael B. Frank, Sharon K. Goetz, Leslie Diane Myrick
Recommended November 30, 2010
Publisher: University of California Press; First edition (November 15, 2010)

Original Price: $35
First print run: 7,500 (the first 6 print runs totaled 275,000 copies)
First printings are listing from $45 to $405.

:: there's somewhat of a controversy over the actual number in the first print run for this title. Some claim that the initial run was a modest 7,500 & when the University of California Press realized the popularity of the (pre-holiday) title, they quickly went into a 2nd, 3rd... 6th printing. Others speculated that the 7,500 number had to be a typo and the first run was more likely 75,000, given that it was released prior to the holidays.  

According to a November 19, 2010 NY Times article, the planned first run was actually for 7,500 copies but when it was clear that demand outweighed the minuscule supply, they upped the printing to 50,000. When that still didn't satiate demand, they printed more. What's still not clear is the actual first print run - 7,500 or 50,000?

Anecdotally, I recall trying to order the book 2 weeks after it was released and it had to wait three weeks for the next printing. When it did arrive, it was a 2nd printing, so I'm apt to believe the first print run was extremely small.

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