View Full Version : Autographed Copy for 1 cent + shipping

11-20-2012, 03:42 AM
So I order three books online, all of which are used, all of which cost almost nothing. Two of them are by my favorite author, Tim O'brien. I open up "Going After Cacciato" to find this.


This is worth, according to the internet, $850. I don't want to sell it, but I have no clue why someone would sell it for almost nothing and I'm so happy that I was the one who got ahold of it.

11-20-2012, 03:55 AM

There's lots of companies that sell large volumes of books cheap. It's not like they are going to sort through them for autographs. :tongue

But, I don't think it's worth that much... not even close.

I've got some signed records around here, that I've found in thrift stores! One with a certificate of authentication.

11-20-2012, 04:00 AM
So all of those sites selling it for over $1k are just there to trick suckers into buying it? :P Good thing I got mine for a penny, lol.

11-20-2012, 04:18 AM
So all of those sites selling it for over $1k are just there to trick suckers into buying it? :P Good thing I got mine for a penny, lol.

Dunno about the sites, but there's many layers to autographed stuff. What they might, or might not, be selling is the highest, authenticated, first edition, autographed, perfect condition product. King of the crop indeed.
Yours appears to be heavily used with his signature. It's nice to have if you're a fan, but nothing no will fight over. For a penny, it's a absolute steal for a fan.

I got the same idea when I got a autographed James Taylor record, mint condition. I do love the record, it's hanging on my wall, but it's barely worth $50, and I've never seen records of one actually sold.

11-20-2012, 05:01 AM
To me, that's just something to enjoy. O'Brien held this book in his hands, this particular volume, and now you've got it. Cool!

And for a penny, double-cool.

Maryn, somewhat envious

Alessandra Kelley
11-20-2012, 05:35 AM
Most of the places that sell books for a penny charge a lot for postage, so that the books end up costing at least as much and sometimes more than those sold by booksellers who are honest about both the books' prices and the postage.

As far as I know, the penny price is to get a higher ranking when books are listed by price. It's a gimmick. Many of those sellers also charge postage for each book you buy, so you never get a volume discount on postage the way you do with less unscrupulous sellers.

Also, the autograph doesn't make the book as valuable as you might think. Condition matters, and demand. I don't know where you found the $800 figure, but I found signed copies of the same book on Abebooks for about $30.

Which is still a nice amount over one cent.

When checking out book prices online, one should never go with the highest prices asked. There are always people trying to sell books for far more than they are worth, sometimes because they are starry-eyed optimists who hope to make a bundle, sometimes because they are scam artists hoping to find a sucker.

Remember, just because a price is asked for something does not mean that anyone anywhere has ever paid it.

A good rule of thumb is that a book is worth close to the lowest price asked for it online. And even autographed editions may be more interesting than monetarily valuable.

As a (not autographed) example of the online versus real value of books, I have a complete set of the works of Balzac from about a hundred years ago, something like 52 volumes with nice engraved illustrations. Online the set is offered for about $400 and individual volumes run about $15 each, but as a used bookseller explained to me, almost no one reads Balzac these days and the books do not sell. Whatever the price asked, their practical value is zero. They are neat, but they are not valuable in the financial sense.

So enjoy your book, and enjoy the neatness of the autograph, but don't be too dazzled by its apparent value.

11-20-2012, 06:43 AM
Similar-but-not-the-same story: A guy I knew in university bought a second-hand textbook just because it looked relevant to his field. As he was flipping through it at school, a stamp fell out. Then another stamp.

He went through the book carefully and found about two dozen stamps. Then he checked the prices online.

The contents of that one second-hand textbook paid for all his new textbooks that semester.

Congratulations on the autographed book! I shall blithely believe it's worth a mint, just because I like being happy for people. :)

11-20-2012, 03:01 PM
"Waiting, trying to imagine a rightful but still happy ending, Paul Berlin found himself pretending, in a wishful sort of way, that before long the war would reach a climax beyond which everything else would seem bland and commonplace. A point at which he could stop being afraid. Where all bad things, the painful and grotesque and ugly things, would give way to something better. He pretended he had crossed that threshold. He wasn't dreaming, or imagining, just pretending. figuring how it would be, if it were."