The Burglar leaves his signature

This post was written by guest blogger Carrie Frye.

Lawrence Block is on tour right now promoting his latest mystery, The Burglar on the Prowl. Along the way he’s giving readings, talking with fans — and signing his name a lot. In this funny, crankish essay for the Village Voice, Block discusses the rising value of the author’s signature on a book:

One mystery specialty store owner told me a book or two ago that her order of my new one depended on whether or not she could get signed copies. If not, she’d take 10 or 20. If they were signed, her initial buy would be 200.

Because 200 hardcore collectors would buy them? No, but because the collecting tail wags the dog here. Folks buying the book to add to their library, or give as a gift, have been schooled by collectors to want a signed copy. And, since so many signed copies do exist, a sort of mutation of Gresham’s Law operates; the signed books drive the unsigned out of circulation, and into Remainder Hell.

(Link via Sarah.)


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