First Editions, Racoons, Snakes
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A hint of greed will sometimes stop me from buying someone's books. They'll bring in a box of recent hardcover fiction and assure me they are all First Editions. Hell, many books are overprinted in their initial pressruns and the firsts and onlys will wind up on remainder tables for $2.98. And within six months of publication many of them will be available online for anywhere from $1.05 to $4.99. So much fiction devalues quickly that paying even a dollar a volume is a gamble.
Being told a middling book is a first or signed makes me wary. The signature isn’t worth much if the author does lots of bookstore signings and doesn’t have a rabid collector following.
Merely being first isn’t consistently crucial. For a book to have value it may have to be the first state of the first edition. States occur while a book is modified in some way while the first edition is being printed. I recently bought a biography of Anastasia, a Russian princess. During the initial press run the words “Lost Princess” were added to the book’s Dust Jacket. The first state, without the words, is worth quite a bit more.
Then there are the surprisingly kind people. Books Do Furnish A Room is a business. We don’t ask people to donate books. Some people insist, some people just leave them on the porch. A grocery bag of books was left last week, all scholarly, expensive fairly recent titles. When I priced them today the total was about $225.00 dollars.
Thanks, whoever you were.
The bookshop has had a raccoon problem for a few years. Gordon hired a pest eliminator but new raccoons appeared. He installed a box that makes an awful clattering noise that is supposed to drive them away. It would drive us away as well so it isn’t on when the shop is open.
This afternoon we saw signs that one of the critters is about to dig through the wall and make his way into the shop. Not sure what Gordon will do. Have to have them exterminated I fear.
The tub at home wouldn’t drain the other day. I was going to call a plumber but Charles suggested we buy a ‘snake.’ Having limited faith in mechanical things and my ability to use them I knew something would go wrong. I was wrong and within two minutes the tub was draining. $30.00 is a lot cheaper than a single plumber’s visit.