2016 Man Booker Short List Announced

The short list was announced this morning for the 2016 Man Booker Award and some of the names you thought might be on the list, aren't:

Paul Beatty (U.S.) for The Sellout (published in the U.S. by FSG in hardcover, Picador in paper)
Deborah Levy (U.K.) for Hot Milk (Bloomsbury USA)
Graeme Macrae Burnet (U.K.) for His Bloody Project (Skyhorse)
Ottessa Moshfegh (U.S.) for Eileen (Penguin)
David Szalay (Canada-U.K.) for All That Man Is (Graywolf Press)
Madeleine Thien (Canada) for Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Norton)

The winner will be announced October 25. 

The biggest surprise was Graeme Macrae Burnet's His Bloody Project. The Guardian kicked off their article on the short-listers stating, "Scottish writer Graeme Macrae Burnet’s story of murder in a 19th-century crofting community has beaten novels by some of literature’s biggest names on to a shortlist for the Man Booker prize that judges said 'take[s] risks with language and form.'" 

This is Burnet's second novel. His first, The Disappearance of Adèle Bedeau was released in 2014 by Contraband/Saraband Books in Scotland. According to the publisher it "received a New Writer’s Award from the Scottish Book Trust, was longlisted for the Waverton Good Read Award and was a minor cult hit."

Most likely it was a smaller print run, although I couldn't find print run numbers on either title. Both titles are in paperback only. I found one signed book online (shipping from the U.K.).

First printings of Paul Beatty's The Sellout (published by Oneworld) are fairly scarce. Both hardcover and softcover were released in March 2016. At the time of this posting, I was only finding listings for later printings of the hardcover. It's in at least its 5th printing, if not later.

Deborah Levy's Hot Milk (published by Hamish Hamilton in the U.K. and Bloomsbury in the U.S.) is listing in the $100+ range unsigned and between $200-$400 signed. Levy was also a short-lister in 2012 with her Swimming Home and Other Stories. Not all of Levy's books are collectible, but these two seem to be faring well in the current market.

Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh is getting lots of accolades. If you didn't get this title early on, then it might be a pinch to your pocket book now. Unsigned hardcovers are starting in the $100 range and going up from there. Signed copies list up to $600.

David Salazny's All That Man Is, is all over the board price-wise. This tells me that this one is toeing the line between collectible and not collectible. If it wins, the value will undoubtedly go up—whether or not it stays up in the long-run is the question. If it doesn't win, then prices will decrease. So people are still trying to make up their minds about it. It needs a push from the collecting world and I'm not sure it's going to get it.

Madeleine Thein's Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Knopf / Norton, Canada) appears to be a bit scarce. I couldn't find print run numbers, but only 2 hardcover copies were listed as of this posting (with no mention of printing or edition).

A note on one of the longlist titles, The Many by Wyl Menmuir. Salt (the publisher) printed only 1,000 copies in the first print run. Prices for first printings over on Abebooks aren't all that overwhelming (from $30-$51 USD—plus shipping). Which just goes to show that it's not always about the scarcity of the first printing. There also has to be the desire for the book.

Last year's winner A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James is listing up to $1,500+ for signed first printings of both the U.S. (Riverhead) and U.K. (Oneworld) editions. Unsigned are listing in the range of $100-$250 for the U.S. edition; $250-$300 for the U.K. edition. You can still find used copies for less, but be really wary of the condition for this title. I saw one listing that claimed the book had been read several times with shelf wear and small tears in the dust jacket (generally considered "Good" condition) and it was going for $30 USD. Fine and near fine condition values jump to the $100+ range.

If you're looking for this title, look for a first printing that does not have the Man Booker sticker on the cover. First print run numbers weren't available, but the second printing from Oneworld (U.K.) was 80,000—in an attempt to meet the demand. The first U.S. printing from Riverhead was small and sold out quickly. Most likely their second printing was also larger.

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