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07 Dec 2015 at 12:28 am #7923
I just looked at the copyright page of my hardback copy of The Road: it’s a first edition, first printing. It occurs to me that several of the older heads on this forum, whose reactions I remember reading back when the book was first published, could say the same thing. I inadvertently ensured that my heirs won’t ever get top dollar for it as a collectible because I underlined many passages and wrote my reactions all over the margins. Just out of curiosity, how many readers mark up their books? –Kathleen
07 Dec 2015 at 9:41 am #7924
I mark up books, but very seldom first printings of first editions. I believe that the first printing of The Road was 250,000 copies, so in terms of scarcity it is not a very rare book. On the other hand the word is that if you have an author SIGNED first edition–you have a forgery.
wesmorganQuote07 Dec 2015 at 10:55 am #7927
In general, any marks on a first edition decreases its value.
But the market is…well, crazy. I listed my first edition of THE ROAD immediately after receiving it, back when it first came out, for double what I paid for it. It sold. I then bought another first edition from Amazon at their 40% discount and listed that one, at something like triple the price. After a couple of years, I sold that one too.
My only copy of it now is my reading copy in easy to open, easy to read paperback. Unmarked except by random coffee stains.
Used and very good hard copy first editions are easily found–I see them at Half-Priced Books all the time. Yet on the internet they still often command (and no doubt often get) solid prices.
I’d bet that advertised first edition hardcovers “marked up”–that is, annotated in the margins–by a noted McCarthy scholar–say, those of Rick Wallach, Wes Morgan, or John Sepich–would bring a substantial sum on Ebay. We call this “associated value.”
One day Oprah’s copy of THE ROAD might appear on Ebay and it would be helpful if it contained marginalia.
Richard L.Quote07 Dec 2015 at 1:53 pm #7928
Hi, Wes Morgan:
No, there’s no signature. My only reason for thinking that it might be collectible some day is because it’s a first edition, first printing. I had no idea that it was such a large initial printing. I’d never heard of McCarthy before reading The Road. –Kathleen Kakacek
07 Dec 2015 at 2:13 pm #7929
Hi, Richard L:
My question about marking up books is more about reader behavior. I’m not really interested in selling any of my books and was poking fun at myself when I made the comment about my underlinings and marginalia spoiling it for any of my heirs and assigns. I noticed that some of my college professors crammed their books with post-it notes; some kept annotated bibliographies on 3×5 cards; and still another kept piles of wire-bound notebooks of her reader responses. I loved the idea of the annotated bibliographies but never got around to creating more than the one assigned by the professor who used that method. Writing my reactions directly in the margins, along with word definitions–something I especially enjoyed doing in The Road and in Suttree–seems to have been a good way for me to remember what I thought when I was reading. And it’s right there on the page. I loved your dry comment about Oprah’s copy of The Road. : ) –Kathleen Kakacek
07 Dec 2015 at 6:07 pm #7931
- This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by kakakath.
Hi Kathleen –
I don’t generally mark up hardcovers unless I’ve bought them used and they’re beat up or marked up already. However, in most respects I’m an avid “reader with a pen.” If you scroll down about three quarters of the way through this Newsweek article, you’ll see what I did to my original copy of McCarthy’s Blood Meridian – and you can read his reaction to seeing it, too:
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