Signed copies and special editions
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I enjoy having signed copies, but I have bought these from shops or on-line without being present at the signing. Today however I went to a signing by Jodi Picoult (no touchstones) - my first ever book signing! I was very surprised to see a big name author coming to our little corner of the world, and really enjoyed the whole experience. Those of you in big cities must have the opportunity of many book signings - I'd love to hear about them!
I would love to have more signed copies, but I haven't been to many book signings.
My others are mostly sports related (Vince Dooley, Barbara Dooley - Go Dawgs!)
The one I treasure is Liftoff by Michael Collins. (Carrying the Fire is much better, but I only have a well-worn paperback.) He spoke at the American Museum of Natural History on the 20th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, and I was working there at the time. I actually shook the hand of a man who's orbited the moon!
It's christened "The Bathroom Edition." There was a discussion about it on the website's messageboard, and I revealed that, due to family tradition - well, since the 1960's, anyway - I kept my copy in the bathroom, along with various cartoon books, as reading material for those who may be parked for a while. Brian Rosenworcel (drums/percussion) - the official journalist - tends to share with his readers an inordinate amount of information about tours and how they affect his (and his bus-mates') bodily functions, so my book's location in my home was generally well-received, and even applauded, in the Guster community. (Yes, I know, I can't completely take credit for the book being referred to this way, but the listing DID change after that post, so I'm sticking to my story.)
I waited for about an hour to walk through a signing line (which was mostly for their recently-released album, but some of us brought our own items to sign) at a Borders bookstore in Boston. This appearance was in early December 2006, - and when I handed Adam (guitarist) my copy, he said, "You didn't buy THIS at Borders...!" :-)
I gave them a Hanukkah/Xmas bag with Lindt truffles (with halloween wrappers; they were on sale); a CD by my second-favorite musician, James Hunter; and a small tin filled with rubber insects (for pranking on the tour bus).
Right after this, I went out to the website to buy a second copy.
For the bathroom, of course.
Is there a lot of this sort of thing going on? Surely the author should put his or her hand to the book?
I'm a collector of modern firsts--and of those, primarily genre works--so I don't know if this sort of thing is common with older titles, or not. I do know some modern publishers have lately begun sending stacks of pages (sometimes with the author's name printed and sometimes just blank) to authors to be signed, and then those pages are "tipped in" or bound into a book along with the other pages.
Personally, like yourself, I prefer for the actual book to have been in the presence of the author, so I would rather buy an unsigned copy and hope to catch the author live somewhere down the road; the hunt is half the fun, I think.