Book collecting is an addictive space. I think I continue to tread carefully but occasionally disappear down rabbit holes. Depending on my mood I have, on occasion, bought unknown books in special editions, because I like reading special editions. This is a dangerous, and expensive, path. But it reflects somewhat the challenges of the special editions market.

I recall reading years ago, some advice about buying art as investments. The advice was simply “buy what you like.” The thinking being that if it gains in value then it’s worthwhile but if it doesn’t gain in value, then you still have something you like.

Some new books

With books, I am an addict for owning and collecting. For me, the investment value is irrelevant; I like to read pretty books and I like to have pretty books on my shelves. At times the investment value can be bewildering. I have stock standard, albeit limited/special editions, that I’ve paid $50 or so for, which are now worth close to $1,000. This was not intentional and the vagaries of the market scare me a little.

Science fiction and fantasy are my faves and it’s a curious market. Lots of folk on good incomes working in computer stuff who also like scifi and fantasy tends to be a large group. I’ve noticed increasingly over the last decade or so, a rise in interest in special books and figurines and so forth. The internet of course has vastly improved findability: if it’s not online, it cannot be purchased.

A print run of 500, nicely bound, editions of a book used to be sufficient. These days, such runs tend to sell out quickly. The audience are no longer local but global. COVID-19 lockdowns seems to have accelerated that process.

This means that if a nice edition of a book is announced and I’ve not read it, nor the author, I may well buy that special edition. Because if I do get round to reading it, often as an ebook, and love it, then the special edition will likely have sold out. I have been caught out a few times and it’s not always possible to recover, or at least attain the title somewhat affordably. Thus, on occasion, I have been buying books on spec, in nice editions, just in case. This does not sit right with me. Yet they are nice and I have no regrets. So far.

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