Tuesday, October 12

Man Booker Prize Winner 2010

First Edition Books - The Man Booker Prize Winner 2010

The Man Booker Prize Winner 2010 is Howard Jacobson with The Finkler QuestionThe Finkler Question

The shortlist of 6 books for the Booker best novel of the year award in the UK was

Peter Carey - Parrot and Olivier in AmericaParrot and Olivier

Emma Donoghue - Room: A NovelEmma Donoghue Room

Damon Galgut - In a Strange RoomDamon Galgut Strange Room

Howard Jacobson - The Finkler Question: A Novel

Andrea Levy - The Long Song: A NovelAndrea Levy Long Song

Tom McCarthy - CTom McCarthy C
(Jonathan Cape - Random House) - this was favourite and one bookie suspended betting on it. (NB - The favourite never wins the Booker Prize - how odd)

Widely recognized as the most readable list for a number of years.

From first editions collector point of view it would have been better to have a first time author winning the prize, as it an author's first novel that is the most collectable.

As far as sales are concerned the winner can expect to sell upwards of 300,000 copies - the others in the region of 200,000.

As for sales before the Booker Prize was announced -
Room sold almost 2,500 copies last week according to the Nielsen BookScan charts, making it 14th in the original fiction bestseller chart, with total sales of 27,300.
Andrea Levy's The Long Song was second with total sales of 17,800.
Peter Carey's Parrot and Olivier in America, at 8,900, is in third place.

Peter Carey has already won the prize twice, in 1988 for Oscar and Lucinda and in 2001 for True History of the Kelly Gang. If he wins the 2010 prize he will be the only author to have won the Man Booker Prize three times. He was also shortlisted for Illywhacker in 1985.

Damon Galgut was shortlisted for his book The Good Doctor in 2003.

Howard Jacobson was longlisted twice before, for Kalooki Nights in 2006 and Who's Sorry Now? in 2002.

Irish author Emma Donoghue is the youngest author on the shortlist.

The winner receives a cheque for £50,000 and worldwide recognition. Last year's winning novel, Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, has sold over half a million copies in the UK, more worldwide. Each of the shortlisted authors, receives £2,500 and a designer bound edition of their shortlisted book.

As an aside I wonder when they will start acepting ebooks on the Man Booker Prize?

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Friday, September 10

Birds of America Book Auction

Most Expensive Book in the World - Birds of America Book Sells for Record $11.5 million

UPDATE : The 19th-century illustrated “Birds of America” book was sold at auction in London tonight for $11.5 million, the highest price ever for any printed work.

The book was bought by London art dealer Michael Tollemache, “I think it’s priceless, don’t you?” he said - well yes but I didn't have $12 million lying around.

Birds of America John James Audubon
John James Audubon's "Birds of America" which gets top billing as the world's most expensive book, is to be auctioned by Sotheby's alongside a first edition of Shakespeare's plays.

There are only 119 copies in existence of "Birds of America" and the book is valued at between $6.2 million and $9.2 million. A Shakespeare First Folio from 1623 is expected to fetch at least $1.5 million.

Sotheby's describe the two books as "the twin peaks of book collecting." They come from the estate of the 2nd Baron Hesketh, an aristocrat and book collector who died in 1955. They will be sold by Sotheby's at their auction house in London on December 7.

A copy of "Birds of America" was sold back in 2000 by Christie's for $8.8 million, whichmade it the most expensive book in the world at auction. This goes to show the value of first edition books ! Unfortunately not all first editions are worth millions, and there can by definition be only one most expensive book in the world, but buying modern first edition books is an interesting way of speculating with small amounts of money. First edition books by Angie Sage for example - see Magyk First Edition Books - could be bought for $30 a couple of years ago, now they are likely to fetch $200 or more, as her books have become best-sellers and a Warner Bros. film is on its way to replace the Harry Potter series which will be ending soon.

"Birds of America" by John James Audubon is one of the most beautiful and important published works of natural history, and is rarely sold. All but a handful of the books are in museums, universities and libraries.

The book is not only the world's most expensive book it also exceptional due to the fact that it measures 2 feet by 3 feet, as Audubon wanted to paint the birds life size ! It comprises a collection of 435 hand-colored prints, made from engravings of Audubon's illustrations.

Sotheby's said "Audubon himself described the size as a 'double elephant' folio."

Audubon originally sold the book by subscription to wealthy collectors. The copy that is being auctioned by Sotheby's is numbered No. 11, and was originally purchased by paleontologist Henry Witham.

So if you are looking for a Christmas present with a difference and you have a few million dollars to invest then make a date with the auction on December 7 - it might feel nice to own the most expensive book in the world !

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Sunday, July 11

When Money Dies Adam Fergusson

First Edition Books - When Money Dies by Adam Fergusson

If you are the owner of a little-known book on economics published in 1975 called When Money Dies: The Nightmare of the Weimar Collapse by Adam Fergusson 1975 edition, then you could have made yourself some money. The book describes what could happen if European governments try to spend their way out of the recession. And shows how the German economy was brought to its knees back in the 1930s by hyperinflation (remember people carrying banknotes about in wheelbarrows to buy a loaf od bread?) after public spending was allowed to run out of control.

The reason the book has suddenly become so valuable is that it was recommended by billionaire investor Warren Buffett to a Dutch financier. The Dutch financier went out and bought up a couple of hundred copies for the Dutch parliament and the book's price shot up in value (supply and demand in action) copies have been changing hands for up to $2,400 and the copies on sale at Abebooks and Amazon at the moment start at $600.

Publisher Old Street Publishing has rushed out a new paperback edition to satisfy the demand, but if you have an old copy of the 1975 edition lying around then don't give it to your local charity shop, unless you are feeling generous. You might also like to consider scouring bookshops, the afore-mentioned charity shops, your granny's attic etc... to see if you can get your hands on a first edition (preferably in good condition).

If you just want to read the book to see what might happen to the economy, it is a very good albeit scary read apparently, then you can get the paperback copy here When Money Dies: The Nightmare of the Weimar Hyper-inflation, but for an investment you will need a copy of the 1975 edition at a good price - When Money Dies: The Nightmare of the Weimar Collapse .

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